What’s a little canoe ride among friends? Well, Friday, a little over a week ago, it was about five hours of fun and agony. The fun part was just doing it. The agony part was just doing it. At least that’s how your Examiner saw it.
Sometime an idea comes together with unanticipated results. (You might remember “Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together,” a favorite saying of George Peppard on NBC’s 1980’s “The A-Team.”) Paddling down the Savannah River between North Augusta, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia doesn’t sound like a very difficult proposition, does it? Well, it wasn’t—not for the first four hours or so. After that, the prevailing winds, with “prevailing” being the key word, made the trip just a bit more challenging than your Examiner and his next door neighbor, John Brewer, had anticipated.
You see, the first four hours of our (as it turned out) five hour trip were a relatively simple paddle going along with the 3+/- mph river flow. Then things changed. How did this happen, you say? Let’s begin, as they say, at the beginning.
Driving from Aiken to the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam Park at the downstream side of Augusta’s Bush Field, we dropped off my trusty Honda and began riding together (with canoe on top) in John’s truck. Proceeding toward North Augusta, we eventually turned from US 1 onto SC 125. We followed SC 125 a few miles, till we came to East Buena Vista. Turning right on East Buena Vista, we drove to downtown North Augusta, crossing over Georgia Avenue, leaving East Buena Vista for West Buena Vista. Dead-ending on Georgetown, we dog-legged left to Hammond’s Ferry which took us between North Augusta’s Soccer Center and its water treatment plant, delivering us to North Augusta’s boat launch ramp on the Savannah River.
Taking our 16 foot “Olde Town” from the top of John’s truck, and parking the truck in the adjacent parking area, we were soon on our way. Using that “a picture is worth a thousand words” maxim, the accompanying slide show is worth a gander. It starts up showing some close North Augusta/Augusta waterfront property along with a through-the-bushes shot of the old Confederate Powder works. As we continue, we see Augusta’s downtown area in the background of the River Watch walk and Augusta’s waterfront, and we go under a number of bridges, including one we stopped at (the Sandbar Ferry bridge) to stretch our legs and have a bite to eat. We go by some boats, some heavy industry, and pass over a good bit of river water.
John didn’t bother to turn around while the pictures that included the back of his head were being taken, probably in order to cut down on our opportunity to take an undesired swim. Had we fallen in, though, the swim wouldn’t have been that bad. The extended warm spell we have had has kept the river quite comfortable; it felt about the same temperature as the daytime air, 60+ degrees or so. Normal late December river water temperature would probably be a bit cooler—definitely not the appealing swim temperature we noticed.
All things considered, water skiers could have had a great time on the river that day. Expectations of a winter river temperature probably kept all comers at home, though. The whole time we were on the river, not one other boat was seen, other than those tied up along the shore. Of course it was a Friday, and most schools were in session. Kind of interesting there were not more retirees enjoying this long wide river-lake, though.
This trip was John’s first trip down this portion of the Savannah. It was your Examiner’s first trip too. It was an enjoyable trip, for the most part, excepting for that “prevailing wind.” Oh, well, into each life a little rain must fall, or, in this case, a little head wind. And while it blew us around a bit, it did not ruin our afternoon by any means. We reached our destination on time and, excepting for a few strains (your Examiner’s,) in relatively good shape. A quick trip to pick up John’s truck, and we were home in time for dinner.
Will we try it again? Well, maybe. Then again, a trip downstream from the Lock and Dam would be a good next trip, especially in the spring or summer when the river critters might be more evident. Alligators are there for all to see, especially along that relatively pristine stretch that is the Savannah River’s passing of that wilderness area that is one of our country’s premiere nuclear facilities, the Savannah River Site.
As for that next trip, if and when, you will find it here in byteclay.com in 2016.
For more articles on environmental subjects in the Central Savannah River Area, click on this link. Thanks for your attention to this article, and, as always, thanks for visiting byteclay.com.