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The commute took about 20 minutes and after unloading and putting our gear all together, the last boat got on the water at about 11:00am. The water on the Ogeechee was just below flood stage at about 11 feet with a flow rate of 4.9 kcfs, pleasant for first thing in the morning and not wanting to break a sweat.
The banks had definitely been breached and the river was venturing into what was, and should be wooded shoals. As we drifted down the first half mile we realized the force of the river by the waterfall - like sounds coming from the fallen branches dangling into the water. The main river was wide open and absolutely beautiful as we rounded a slight bend and saw a quite large red headed woodpecker. Soon after, we encountered a slightly submerged log which had to be negotiated, but no major ordeal there.
About halfway through the voyage, there is a “T” in the river, but the river was so high that it continued to flow straight through the woods. I found this out the hard way by spending some quality time in a strainer leaning hard to my right to avoid filling my yak with Ogeechee water. Once this “T” was cleared we enjoyed the slow current that we had enjoyed at the beginning of the trip. A group of wild hogs (at first mistaken for angry alligators) swam across the river in front of us as we wove in and out of a tree covered path causing quite a shake up in the paddling rhythm. They had no intention of seeing who or what we were and continued out of the river and through the woods.
After leaving the more isolated waters the river widened and allowed us to run 6 wide and offered a few photo op’s for our resident paddling photographer. We posed and didn’t pose, then decided we needed something to eat. Modeling makes us hungry.
Dry land was quite scarce due to the high level and we lucked out by spotting a stretch about 20 feet by 50 feet buried behind a line of trees. We all tucked in and hammered down our protein bars and gas station sandwiches, guzzled water and enjoyed a fresh cold beer (clearly a model’s menu) before continuing down the river toward our 15 mile goal.
The river opens up again for the last 5 or so miles and the current eased back a bit more which was fine with all of us since we were in no hurry. We took about a 5 minute break at an island which sits about 3 miles north of King’s Ferry, then took another 5 or 10 under the I-95 overpass. Once we reached the I-95 overpass, there was 1 mile to go. We decided to drift all the way in. Two of us lagged behind and watched as an osprey snagged a fish and returned to it’s nest, then paddled on so we could all finish our great day trip as a team.
This was only my 2nd trip in the Dirigo, but I had an absolute blast and the yak performed just fine. At the end of the day we had chalked up 15.2 miles with memories and experience on the side. Our group worked great together and I look forward to doing many more runs with them. This paddle was easy to moderate with the river at the level it was. Moderate more for the planning of your turns in the narrow portion.
Highly recommend this run!!!
I-95 south to exit 94. Turn right and follow 204 until you cross the Ogeechee River. Turn right after the river to Ogeechee Outpost and Morgan's Bridge.
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