Buford Dam to McGinnis Ferry Paddle

July 14, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Chattahoochee River - #yaklife

Team River Avengers crossed off the first part of the list of sections of the Chattahoochee we want to paddle. The goal for Shane, David and I is to cover the river from Buford Dam to Morgan Falls Dam in our kayaks. That is 32 miles of which we now have paddled 9.1 miles. Below Morgan Falls Dam is another 8.5 miles of suitable paddling but Shane and I have already covered 6.5 of it so it is not a priority to go back and cover the distance from Morgan Falls to Johnson Ferry yet.

Checked the release schedule for the Dam and we had until 9:55 pm before we had to worry about anything. We put in at the boat ramp just below the dam. There were a ton of people on the river. We had no idea what to expect or how long it would take us to get to Settles Bridge from here. Not much info on the internet about this section of river except it is clear, cold and you must where a life jacket until you pass the Highway 20 bridge. We knew around that bridge there was going to be some fast, turbulent water.

We set out into the misty waters in search of adventure and feeling like true explorers.

SaveThere is a split in the water with a large island in the middle. We stayed right of the island.

Near the island was the only shallowish parts we encountered. They were easily avoided and navigable. We could hear the big rapids up ahead and see the bridge for 20 in the distance. We knew this was the only class II this side of the Hooch and it was coming up!

This is the approach. There are many rocks on the left and you want to stay clear of that area and stay right. You do want to point straight into it. David Went first, followed by me, then my son and last my husband. I was the only one who had to bail out some water after. That last rapid is HUGE and I dove right into it. I need a half skirt to keep this from happening to me.

You can't really see it from this angle. The big scary part is on the other side of that rock. The fire department does fast water rescue classes and demonstrations here and they were out today which made me feel less anxious. You can see the yellow helmet just above the rock. He had a rope and was ready to rescue anyone who may fall into trouble.

Just after the rapids is a beach you can pull over to and catch your breath (or dump the water out of your boat like me) I am sure you could probably portage over the rocks and skip the rapids if you wanted to.

After this little break we paddled without stopping to Settles Bridge and stopped for lunch.

Funny side note... We put my son's water in the river partly next to the boat to stay cold but when he went to look for it, it was gone. We searched all over. I did not want to be "that guy" who trashed the river. We are always so careful about leaving no trace. About a mile down the river we came up on it. Still sealed and very cold! I was ecstatic to have found it.

We stopped at our beach that we stopped at last time we were on this river. Found some racoon and deer tracks.

There are so many great spots to chill along the river. Why did I only hang out at Jones Bridge when I was a kid?

With McGinnis Ferry bridge in the distance our trip has come to an end. 7.5 hours it took us, with lots of breaks and not really paddling hard at all. We could have done it in 4 hours if we didn't stop. Now for the loading and shuttling of the boats. This was the best day on the river yet. I am so proud of my little boy. He ran those rapids and paddled 80 % of that river with out having to be towed.

Hope you aren't getting tired of my paddling posts. I have went from hiking to running to paddling. I have plans to add cycling in the near future. I can't help it. I love being outside and active.



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