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Georgia Wilderness Society
Chattahoochee River

GWS Trip Report by Curt Cole
Chattahoochee River, Whitesburg to Franklin, GA. Memorial Day Weekend, 2010

Participants were: Terry Neely, Marty Dyche, Mimi Needham, Basil & Tami Youman, Joe Mangum, Dean Crist & Curt Cole.

All but Dean camped at Banning Mills near Whitesburg, Friday and Saturday nights. Friday afternoon we explored the lodge complex and creek, and watched folks ride the zip lines. Most of our group went into Carrolton and ate a very enjoyable evening meal on the square at Irish Bred Pub. We then settled in at camp to enjoy the campfire.

Saturday we put-in at the Hwy 16/Alt 27 paved ramp just south of Whitesburg, river left. The Whitesburg gauge was about 8’, a few feet high so the current was brisk. Hardly any buildings were seen besides Georgia Power’s Plant Yates. A few kayakers & jon boaters were the only people we saw. Not many good places to stop for lunch, and no camping sandbars. A storm with lightning showed us how fast Mimi could paddle. Impressive! The rain stopped & fog moved in to add atmosphere. Take-out was on river right at Hollingsworth Ferry Road, near Plant Wansley. Fourteen miles averaging 4.5 mph. Only a few standing waves, which were easy. Lower water would’ve meant a little more fun at the shoals.

Sunday, Dean arrived and we put-in at Hollingsworth Ferry Road for a twelve-mile paddle to the Hwy. 34 ramp in Franklin, river right. Water level was down to about 5.7’ at Whitesburg, which still left the shoals mostly washed out.. Stopped at Hilly’s Mill Creek and Red Bone Creek to see the falls. We lunched at the latter and Terry, Marty and Basil reclined in the waterfall, declaring it quite cool. Had multiple sightings of a bald eagle. We threaded through the islands of Bushhead Shoals. Paddled through Daniel Shoals, and the last mile or so took us into West Point Lake. Saw a few more houses on this stretch but still it was a pretty paddle and I’m sure the shoals at lower and clearer water would be even prettier and more fun. Thanks to all who participated.