Monday, August 3, 2015

Kayaking the Hooch - Part 3

For at least the last two years the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) organization has hosted a three part Discovery Series of guided paddling excursions down the Chattahoochee River.  Susan and I completed part 1 of the series last year but were unable to join the other two parts of the series until 2015.  We completed part 2 of the series last month.  This is my report from the third and final part of the series on Saturday, August 1st which starts at Johnson Ferry and ends at Paces Mill.

I brought along my Garmin 910XT watch, Garmin Virb Elite video camera, Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 camera, and Samsung S5 cellphone to capture the trip.  Most of the images were taken with the Olympus camera and only a few with the cellphone.  All four devices are water tolerant to varying degrees.  The map below was captured with the 910XT watch which was left on for the duration.  I captured several snippets of video with the with the Virb and this time I've included the various data metrics for speed, distance, etc.  I neglected to do that in the Kayaking the Hooch - Part 2 report.

Per my Garmin watch, this trip covered a distance of 7.31 miles and took just under 3 1/2 hours to complete, start to finish including breaks.  The whole trip was 7 1/2 hours for Susan and I.  We left home at 7 a.m. and returned at 2:30 p.m.  It was a long day but what a treat.  The north side of Atlanta is sooo nice.  Beautiful homes, landscaping everywhere, friendly people, plenty of safe, clean recreational facilities, restaurants, shopping, etc.  Susan was so content that even after stung by a bee during lunch she smiled afterwards.  Not surprisingly, Susan had packed some Benadryl in our lunch bag.  She took a pill to minimize her reaction to the sting.    

We arrived at 8 a.m. at the put-in location at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Johnson Ferry unit, North entrance.  We unloaded our boats by the ramp to the river and waited.

Unloaded - Wait here!
While Susan and a few others waited with our gear the rest of us caravanned to the take-out location at the Paces Mill Palisades Unit park off of Cobb Parkway.  There is a mandatory $3 fee for parking at the park.  Fortunately there is a credit/debit card machine if you don't have the correct change.  After we were assured that all those who were planning to join us had arrived, we loaded into the trolley and headed back to the put-in location.  The road distance between the two locations was about 9 miles or 20 minutes drive time due to traffic.

The trolley
Our guide, Ranger Jerry Hightower took the trolley ride as an opportunity to address a captive audience with tales about the river.

Trolley ride
Back at the Johnson Ferry ramp we finished any final prep before departing.

Final preparations of the group's gear 
Ranger Jerry and trip organizer Tammy Bates addressed the group and went over a few safety tips.   They also introduced the other volunteers that would be accompanying our group.

Safety briefing
The video below is the start of the trip.  It begins at the Johnson Ferry boat ramp and covers the initial 11 or so minutes of the trip.

Here we go!
During the previous trip I used the waterproof case for the Garmin Virb.  I elected to forgo that added protection on this trip.  The little amount of water that splashed on the camera was well within its IPX7 rating which is defined as "Withstands incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes."

My kayak watch and camera setup
A brief lecture stop
One of the CRK volunteers
Ranger Jerry told the group about how the Union Army used the area to cross over the river to engage the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Ranger Jerry telling stories about the river at Sope Creek

Ranger Jerry and another paddler
Susan taking a picture
A muskrat den
Another CRK volunteer
Jerry giving some directions before lunch
Stopping for lunch on a small sandy beach
The list of animals we saw during the day includes; ducks, geese, blue herons, a kingfisher, and turtles...and dogs.

The ducks have learned to beg
Lunch break
It wouldn't be a party if someone didn't get wet!
A fellow paddler in a long boat - 17' long
Watching someone jump from a rock into the river
Awaiting further instructions
The I-75 bridge over the river  
The take-out at Paces Mill
Although this is the end of the Discovery Series of paddling excursions for Susan and I, it should be the start of other adventures.  The Chattahoochee Riverkeepers have other, longer and more challenging trips later in the year.  

See all the pictures from the trip here.

Thanks for reading.