Hatchet Creek, located south of Sylacauga, Alabama, provided the perfect ending for our yearly April paddling marathon. Kay and I started the month off with an overnighter on the East Fork of the Little River, went to the Clear Fork River the next weekend, took a week off and then headed south to Hatchet the following weekend. It has really been pleasure to paddle tandem for three trips in a row; seems that we normally take the Explorer out about once a year. Joining us for the trip from the club were Bob "Ho-Ho" Barnett and Chris Barnett (OC-2), Brenda Barnett (OC-1), Soos Weber and Steve Caudill (OC-2), Louis and Rutland Price (OC-2), Brad Mclane (OC-1), Dr. Joel Cochran (K-1) and Johnathan (K-1).
Dr. Cochran, a fellow Alabama Rivers Alliance director, is a member of the Coalition for the Preservation of Hatchet Creek and served as our guide for the trip. With Joel's help, we obtained permission from a conservationist landowner to camp on the creek bank just below the Highway 231 Bridge. On Saturday we paddled the 13-mile section from U.S. Highway 280 to U.S. Highway 231. The creek runs through a remote area with no roads and only a few streams and hunting cabins. The creek reminds me a lot of Talking Rock Creek in north Georgia; lots of good scenery, many shoal areas and a couple of light Class II rapids. This run deserves more than the 7 hours that it took us to make the trip, an overnighter on this section would be great.
On Sunday we paddled the next 6.8 mile
section of creek; from U.S. 231 to Kings Bridge. This section is a lot
flatter than the run that we made on Saturday. The scenery was nice, but
not as dramatic as the trip on the day before. The highlight of this trip
is the presence of the beautiful Cahaba Lillies which bloom on several
of the shoal areas. We were at least two weeks early for the lillies bloom,
but we could see the plants emerging from the rocky shoals through the
clear water. We departed on Sunday afternoon, leaving over 8 miles of creek
to be paddled on the next trip to Hatchet. The remaining trip is a shoal
studded run with some dramatic scenery which we hope to run next year.
Hope that you don't miss that trip, because you sure missed a good one
this year. As "Old Bob" would say "It don't get any better than this".