Chicks.

Yeah, yeah – I know what you’re thinking. So, no, not those kinds of “chicks”. I’m referring to Chickamauga Creek, or more specifically, West Chick and South Chick. No one is more disappointed that I am, trust me.

However, the paddling wasn’t disappointing. I undertook a new, long somewhat tricky paddle on Saturday, which began at the Camp Jordan put-in on West Chick Creek, just north of the Georgia state line. That was, of course, after a couple of hours at the gym, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and other parts of my former Stomping Grounds (which was, yes, a little nostalgic). See, I took the long way around, via FO, because I wanted to take a look at the put-in I visited a few weeks ago, to see if it was any better. It wasn’t.

But Camp Jordan, that was a good put-in. However, the deep, slow conditions at the put-in didn’t last – West Chick quickly gave way to fast, shallow water, just littered with rocks and downed trees. Lots of back-and-forth, running aground (arock?), and portaging. After about 2 miles of this, I made it to where West Chick empties into South Chick, and headed for the area I paddled last weekend (although this time, I was coming downstream; I came upstream last time).

West Chick, right before the pedestrian walkway into Camp Jordan, and the confluence of West and South Chick - click for larger

West Chick, right before the pedestrian walkway into Camp Jordan, and the confluence of West and South Chick – click for larger

This part of South Chick was much better, and I made it quickly under I-75, Brainerd Road, and to the airport, just about 100 yards short of where I made it to last weekend. Unfortunately, there are two big pipes (of some sort) that cross the creek here, and there was no way around them, just like last weekend. If I had some rope with me, I might have been able to lug the boat up the shore (it was about 6′ – 8′ feet up the wall of the man-made canal along the levy), but it was no big deal – lots of creek left to explore. So, back upstream, through the West Chick/South Chick confluence again, and into the tricky waters heading south on South Chick.

And here, my first real challenge. There’s a fast-moving waterfall here I tried to get over, but coming from downstream, it just wasn’t happening. So, portaging the boat maybe 50 or 60 yards through the adjacent marsh and rocks to get above the waterfall. Not easy, but doable. A couple miles up and back South Chick to thee confluence, and with time remaining in the day, I decided to get out here (there’s a put-in here) and carry the boat about 1/4 mile across Camp Jordan to the original put-in. Paddling the 2 miles back up West Chick just wasn’t an option – the shallow, fast water and debris were challenging enough downstream; upstream would have taken hours. And, of course, the increased likelihood of having an accident – although in the shallow waters, the risk of drowning is pretty low, but still, never underestimate.

click for larger

click for larger

So, I walked across Camp Jordan, and put back in, and then headed upstream on West Chick, towards Georgia. The creek here wasn’t as bad as the other sections, but there were still obstacles and debris. Nonetheless, about 2 miles up the creek, I crossed the state line into Georgia, my second interstate paddle. I didn’t go far into Georgia, but I made it – that was my goal. Following that, a speedy downstream paddle back, done and done.

click for larger, or Endomondo data, or Movescount data

click for larger, or Endomondo data, or Movescount data

Of course, that wasn’t all for the weekend. Sunday morning – early – I saddled up the motorbike to head over to Ketner’s Mill. I’ve heard you can paddle here, so I wanted to go check it out to see if that was so (spoiler alert: it is). That, and I just wanted to ride the bike – I’ve been riding it more lately, and a dry, early Sunday morning is the perfect time to do so.

Ketner's Mill - click for larger

Ketner’s Mill – click for larger

Ketner’s Mill itself was very cool, and I’m excited about paddling here. I’m going to put in below the dam (that was built to operate the old mill) which should make for compelling scenery. The trick will be to get close to dam for good photos, without getting pulled under. This will actually be pretty dangerous, but I can do it. From there, I’ll just explore the Sequatchie River as far as I can – should be a good trip.

So, I looked around the Mill for a bit, then headed back – still early. Not a long ride; but good for the soul. Of course, I’m still thinking of selling the bike, but on days like today, I really don’t want to. We’ll see. Granted, riding a motorbike these days is dangerous – car drivers are way too distracted. But getting out on a twisty road first thing in the morning can’t be beat, and hey, danger is my business.

Link:
Camp Jordan Paddle Photo Album on Facebook