Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ochlockonee Evening

I opted for a late trip today after yard and house work. I've been working my way up the Ochlockonee River from Lake Talquin, but I was stopped this last week by fallen trees obstructing the river within about a mile of the next launch at Tower Rd. Tower Rd is very conveniently located for us, about 5 miles away, so I figured I could put in and paddle down, perhaps to the same blockage that turned me around from the other end. I didn't make it quite that far, but I think I was close. It's an interesting little piece of river; there are lots of trees down under the surface of the water, so that the limbs climb straight up and the water flows around them. In places it's almost creepy looking. When I got to the first area that I couldn't really paddle through (it's an easy portage though, over a sandbar on the bank) I worked on it with hand-saw and garden shears and cleared a little, but I realized that I'll need better tools, or more people to help, or more time to really get anywhere with it. The trees that have lain there for a while have had all of their soft wood worn away by the sun and wind and water, leaving just the hardest densest portions. So a branch the size of a forearm looks pretty easy, but it's so damn dense, you've got to work pretty hard to get through. Not wanting to kill my evening huffing and sweating alone in the woods to no avail, I decided to paddle back upstream past the launch to the railroad bridge that's just below Monroe St. where it crosses the river. This also is an interesting piece of river, alternating between long straight sections and twisting meanders. There are some really crazy cypress formations along the rather high banks (partly because the water is low and what's usually under is now exposed). Lots of white sandbars for resting or camping. Because of the downed trees, you can't really put a motor boat on that river right now, so it was very quiet, and I didn't see another soul on the water (but I also didn't cover much area either, about 4 miles, 1 down from the launch and 3 up). Despite the proximity to civilization, it feels pretty remote. I'll use this paddle as the quick and easy one when I just need to get out on the water and think or don't have time for a real excursion.

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