RIVER TRIP 2013
An epic one to two week Kayak & Canoe Educational Adventure of 250 miles from Columbus to the Gulf
In 2013 we will host our fifth annual paddle trip from the start of the Apalachicola River at our 140-acre campus of the historic riverboat landing in Chattahoochee, Florida and travel eight days and 106 miles southward to the end of the river at the Museum Docks on the historic Apalachicola waterfront. The trip will begin with a rally and camp out at the Chattahoochee Landing on October 26. We will arrive in Apalachicola November 2, at the start of the Florida Seafood Festival where all paddlers will take part in the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. For the more ambitious paddlers, there is the option to begin the trip at Columbus, Georgia, one week and 145 miles earlier. Participants would be able to start or stop at Chattahoochee, the approximate halfway point.
In conjunction with RiverWay South, the Chattahoochee Paddling Club and other partner organizations, we will paddle the entire navigable range starting at the tail race of the last mill dam in Columbus, GA. In the 1800s Apalachicola and Columbus were proclaimed as sister cities as the Apalachicola River was the corridor of commerce between the water powered mill town of Columbus and the port city of Apalachicola with direct trade routes to European markets. This year’s trip will celebrate that history and again connect these cities with the new form of commerce based on education and appreciation of the maritime heritage, ecologic treasures and the renewal spirit and body brought about by paddling this mighty river and learning of her treasures.
The Apalachicola River is the largest river in the state of Florida and fifth largest in all of North America. It begins its journey to the Gulf of Mexico as the Chattahoochee River, springing from the mountains of North Georgia along the Appalachian Trail near Chattahoochee Gap at 3,500 feet elevation. Its southward journey to the Gulf is joined by the Flint River which originates south of the Atlanta airport, and joins the Chattahoochee River near the Florida/Georgia/Alabama state lines. The confluence of these two rivers at Lake Seminole creates the Apalachicola River which flows uninterrupted 106 miles into Apalachicola Bay and into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Cool nights, warm days and a moderate river temperature beckon a hike through the woods or a swim. This is a great time to camp on the sandbars while enjoying autumn in the sparsely developed river basin. Learn about the flora and fauna unique to the basin from educational presentations along the way. To traverse the river with only boat, paddle, and the spirit of adventure brings forth reconnection with the natural world and knowledge of river heritage. Educational presentations along the way will include a broad array of topics ranging from river hydrology, to timber management, from endangered species to Tupelo honey production, from maritime history to the marine ecology of an estuary system.
We will explore the floodplains, streams, bluffs, tributaries and some of the communities along the river. We will look at historical sites and the culture of river life. You will experience the hydrologic effects in the river meanders and oxbows, the broad diversity of flora and fauna uniquely adapted to the flood plains and steep head ravines. We will learn how reduced water flows affect the nutrient flow into the Gulf and the impact on productivity in the seafood harvest. We will learn of adaptive management as applied in forestry and floodplain practices. We will learn to know each other and the river one paddle stoke at a time. We will camp on the sand bars and bluffs at night and come to developed friendships and knowledge that will last a lifetime.
The Journey begins at Columbus city docks, runs for one week to reach the halfway point just below the Lake Seminole dam in the town of Chattahoochee at the 140 acre museum and outfitter shop and ends at the docks of the Apalachicola Maritime Museum. Included with the trip is a cruise on the “Heritage,” our 58 foot wooden ketch which, winds and weather permitting, will make the run out across the bay and then out past St. George Island into the blue water of the Gulf.
For more detailed journals from the river trip check out the journals and poetry developed by educators and participants in years past.