Chatooga River, Sec. II

The waters of the Chatooga River develop near Cashiers, NC before running south along the Georgia/South Carolina border all the way to the Atlantic at Savannah – a contributor to the Savannah River.  In the past years ‘sections’ of the river leading through Lake Tugaloo have been identified which are rated to the safety and skill level of paddler.


Water Clarity – 6 (rain previous day)

Natural Quality – 7

Difficulty – beginner +

Besides constantly passing several of the outfitter businesses, my earliest recollection was the knowledge that the river was the setting for a number of scenes in the movie Deliverance, @ 1970.

On this date a group of neighborhood paddlers from our Lake Cherokee hood gathered to run Section II from Hwy 28 to Earl’s Ford.  It a seven or so mile section with class I, II, (and one III) rapid(s) – the perfect section for many to ‘get their feet wet’ while enjoying the fun and fellowship of casual group paddling.

From the Hwy 28 “Wildlife Viewing” area (a few miles south of Warwoman rd) the portage to the river is a short one, a convenient put-in for all.


The water was up some from the previous days rain which helped us all acclimate a little quicker to the river’s ‘pace;’ it was a comfortable section with an easy roll to it.


It only took a rapid or two before some literally began to get their ‘feet-wet,’ but hey, I’ve learned that it happens more when you are with a group – but not always because of the group.  Anyway, it was our groups consensus that you weren’t having any fun unless you ‘got wet.’


Help and encouragement was always near as the section was a good introduction for many to “strainers” and the under rated force of water.  ‘Strainers’ can hold a paddler in place – and worse.

The morning haze ‘burned off;’ everything seemed right for this ‘neighborhood’ paddle.  While the scenery was great – folks were also interpreting more how to ‘read’ the chutes of the rapids.



and there is a single class-III in the section; more fun than a big deal

It was full of simple challenges, and lots of ‘clean’ fun.

Plenty of time between ‘rapids’ to gather our thoughts, both on the shore…

– or while sitting along an ‘eddy.

100_9026– plenty of time also appreciate the many ‘little things’ about the river,

100_9038while stopping to watch others scan and navigate the whitewater areas.


Many worked on finding their own particular style


We had put in at 10 am and Section II took a little more than 4 hours to reach Earl’s Ford, the portage out at Earl’s Ford was a little more challenging – a full 1/4 mile uphill.

For each our own reasons we participated – with several rivers scheduled in the coming month I wanted to get my ‘pack’ list in order while putting my logic through some maneuvers.  It was valuable time in experiencing how different kayaks handled in something other than our flatwater neighborhood – lessons learned, wholehearted laughs shared.



– and everyone crossed the finish line to paddle another day.

(More information; Chatooga Wild and Scenic River)