Sun, Feb 16 2020 - Double Dam :: Buford Dam to Morgan Falls Dam (View Original Event Details)|
Well, at 10,000+ cfs the Hootch did NOT disappoint today. Which is partially the reason why I wanted to do this today - man that flow was outstanding and it provided a non-stop day of excitement and sights of a killer just shy of 37 mile long shoot.
breaking it down(river):
It's 06:45 and it's still dark outside...Morgans Falls Overlook Park (MFOP) is still locked up - we park at the lower lot below the raging turbulence of the release of the waters above...the waters we're about to go paddle for about the next 6 hours. We load up Vaishali's Subi with Rick's Pyrana 12' and my WS Focus 15.5' and gear...we hit GA400N right away to get to the Buford Dam Lower Pool West boat ramp where we unloaded, geared up, got a quick pic & hit the water. Right away you knew it was going to be a hard, FAST day...no taking it easy and the utmost respect must be paid or the roiling waters might take you for a roll!
Minutes later Bowmans Island was in front of us...mind your line and shoot for the calm in between the whitecaps! hey look right it's the trout hatchery :)...no one fishing there today. Next it was Ga20 and at our first time check from distance...7+mph and we're not really working...just keepin' it calm for the next 33+ miles.
Before we know it's 08:50....and Settles Bridge is upon us and we scramble to grab a couple of cool photos of the bridge...hundreds of nesting herons, belted kingfishers, cormorants, hawks, cardinals and lord knows what else was flying over us. The other thing that started flying over us was rain...which wasn't totally unwelcomed, but not necessary ;)
The miles and the paddle strokes just keep piling up...stroke after stroke after STROKE! Landmarks keep clicking by, but seem to lose their luster as we're getting ready for stretch and a lil 10 minute break.
Fastforward it's 11:11 and it's about the 1/2 mark and time for a quick pit stop at Medlock Br boat ramp...it's roast beef w/fresh horseradish and BBQ sandwich getting jammed down my gullet, while Rick warms up with a thermos of HOT chicken noodle soup (which comes in handy for warming up cold, wet paddle hands!). Not much longer than it took to chew that food and we're back in the water hammering down the hootch like it was our job!
The old ruins of Jones Bridge and Gerrards Landing both sailed by as we found a few other crazy kayakers out there - that will probably be LOOKING for our NEXT DOUBLE DAM event -
Horseshoe went by like a freight train as we began to bear down on the shoals of Island Ford. Rick took the right line, I took the left and we meet at the roost of heron way atop a pine tree at the Martins Landing riverside pool. From there GA400 came back into sight and man it was a jolt of energy that was definitely needed. The arms are getting tired and we have about 10 miles left...
Those miles clicked by the slowest as the flow rate seemed to all but halt! We're back at work...and work we did. We zipped by onlookers from Azalea, and Burrito Bend (affectionately named by me as I got too close to a guy fishing while I was kayaking years ago and he chucked a half-eaten burrito at me...I said I was sorry, he was hidden in the privet and he was not having a good day) and the riverwalk...the rock walls along Huntcliff were a sight for sore eyes and arms..and shoulders, and backs! Almost there.
So as we said this is the DOUBLE DAM! we had to get in the sight of the dam...with the original plans of takeout at MFOP, but our cars are at least a mile away from that dock...plus we just paddled 36 miles...we press on. We get to the cut in on the left before you get near the dam, paddle up to the dredging equipment of the GPC ,which allowed us to do a self-portage to the lower rocks alond the property line since the gate was locked from the outside), so we LUGGED out boats and gear, basically down the height of the falls so we could drop in, do a short paddle to the lower boat ramp by the dog park - all in all...36.94 mile is 5h 50m BOOM
my photos start here, Rick took cool .HEIC images and I cannot upload them grrrr