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Georgia Wilderness Society
Chestatee & Etowah Rivers, 2014

Paddling the Chestatee and Etowah Rivers
by Curt Cole
Twelve folks got together Friday through Sunday, June 27-29, 2014, and paddled a couple of really nice north Georgia rivers near Dahlonega, Ga. We also camped each night at Amicalola State Park.
Friday was the beautiful Chestatee River. This class I river has some mild rapids and shoals, white rhododendrons, which were in bloom, and hemlocks arching over the water. This was about a six mile run. Water level was 1.2', 190 cfs. Scraped bottom in a few places. A local outfitter, Chestatee River Adventures, allowed us to launch and park the shuttle vehicle at their location, free of charge. Some of us gave them a few bucks anyway. Nice folks who run float trips and rent boats.
Saturday and Sunday we paddled the Etowah River, from Highway 136 to hwy. 9 (Big Savannah section), and hwy. 9 to Kelly Bridge Road (Dawson Forest section.) The latter was the prettier, undeveloped, flatter and less obstructed of the two, though both were nice class I runs with some easy rapids, shoals and some strainers. About 8 miles each. Water level was about 2.4', 200 cfs (Landrum gauge.) This was a little lower than on my March scouting trip, when the level was a less scrapey 270 cfs. We scraped bottom occasionally but no major hangups and no capsizes.
Participating were: Greg Bates, Franke Christian, Curt (trip leader)/Irene Cole, Pam Diersen, Marty/Mimi Dyche, Tom Payne, Bernard/Genise Spenle, and Basil/Tami Youman.