Cahaba River Lily Tour
11 May 2002
by Ronold Thomas
Section 11 of the Cahaba River, extending six miles (see Foehee pg. 87), was running at about 800 cfs when sixteen paddlers in eight boats put in near Piper on county road 24 north of Centerville, Alabama. Everyone met trip leader Mark D'Agostino at the Calera exit (288) I-65 at 10:00 am for the caravan along state route 25 past Montevallo toward Centerville. An alternate approach to section 11 of the Cahaba is I-20/59 south from Birmingham. Take the Caffee Junction exit (97) and go south past Woodstock to West Blocton. I believe this is a little more direct from Huntsville but Mark D was scouting other streams in the area [actually delivering boats to Hoover area friends] so he made the approach from the Calera direction.
The flotilla included Mark D, daughter Helen and a guest; David Whitten and son Daniel; Murray and Kay Carroll; Robert and Edna Andrews; Bob and Brenda Barnett and grandchildren Cris and Haley; Mike and Kathy Campbell; and this solo paddler.

It was a warm day and quite a number of other paddlers were on the river as well as land lubbersalong the banks watching the river go by. The Shoal Lily (known locally as the Cahaba Lily) was in full bloom and in great abundance especially at mile long Hargrove Shoals where from a distance the display looked like a "pasture" of white flowers. This lily and its long slender leaves grow upright out of the shallow water to a height of two and a half feet or more. A beautiful sight. There are several organizations working to preserve the Cahaba. What a valuable resource!

The take-out is at county road 26. Parking at both ends of this float trip is adequate. From take-out to Huntsville is one hundred fifty miles via I-20/59/65.
Three events of note (beside the beautiful lilies): Mark D, considering it was such a hot day, took his canoe full of paddlers for a swim at one of the lovely little shoals; Kathy conducted a very pleasant shuttle in her wonderfully air-conditioned van; and Murray stayed behind with all the nondrivers to portage the canoes up that steep trail to the parking area. Murray, I promise next time to take all the gear out of my canoe before the portage. Thanks. And thanks to Mark D for a well planned and enjoyable trip down this scenic section of the Cahaba River.