Toccoa River Overnighter

by Carolyn Rand

The Toccoa River overnight trip was a pleasure to lead. Everyone knew how to paddle! They all had the right boats they were used to which included both kayaks and canoes. They had the right gear, clothes, food and wine! Oh, there was the annual tandem swim that we never expect from Ben and Amy, but is becoming our annual entertainment. Thanks, guys. And one hang up in a tree, but without that, it would not be as fun (for the viewers at least). The weather was perfect and there was a big bright moon that night. John Alden would have approved.

When we got to the put-in, there was a big scout troop there. We were worried about getting our favorite camping spot on the river because they left way before we did. When we got to the swinging bridge though, we discovered that they were all setting up camp there, and not going on down river. Our campsite below the rapid was safe! We scouted from the bridge and then headed on through. I followed Richard, at least very briefly, before he got stuck. It never fails. I know the best way for me to go, but always end up going someone else’s route with them and not liking it. Next time I’m going to take my own way! I always say that… Once through, we didn’t see another soul the whole night. It was delightful.

By the time I got up the next morning, Jane already had a big fire going. We took our time with breakfast. We had 2nd and 3rd cups of coffee, since the paddle out would only take 4 hours. We had the pleasure of being entertained by the scouts that were to come also, and we didn’t want to miss that. A lot of inexperienced boys lost a lot of gear and pride that day. They hit the big rapid as soon as they put on the river in the morning, and put on quite a show. All of their gear floated by before we ever saw the first drenched body that followed. They were not happy campers anymore. It was quite an enjoyable morning.

The water level hardly went down overnight, so we sailed down pretty quickly. It all ended way too soon. In the fall, I think I will make it a 3 day trip, if the water is still there. I always hate to leave.