Photos and Narrative by Eric Fleming
On October 2nd, 19 flatwater paddlers met at the Greenway Farm ramp on the North Chickamauga Creek at 10 am for a trip down the creek to the Chickamauga Lake to lock-through the dam. As always, we staged most of our autos at the take out, across the lake from the dam. It was a nice quiet paddle down the creek on a beautiful day, then we waited a little while for the lock master to open the lock for downstream traffic. While waiting downstream you can actually feel the current created by water being pushed out of the lock. After the giant doors opened, we headed into the lock with seven pretty impressive powerboats. Since all the wall hooks were taken, we had to tie off to a power boat that towered over us. The doors closed and we began the rapid 48 foot rise to the lake level. Once again, we could not only see the water bubbling up in the lock, but could also feel it pushing on our boats. It was kind of amusing that the captain of the power boat to our left managed to get his boat sideways while trying to exit the lock (forgot to untie his boat). Oops!! We then paddled the mile across the lake to the take out ramp. Although it was the first time locking through for about half our group, they all handled it like pros.