A group of four young ladies (18-24) and my wife and I went on Etowah River Aug4. Our run was through Dawson Forest Wildlife Mgt Area (below Hwy53 to Kelly Bridge Rd) which is about 9 miles of water and three hours of paddling. This is a good section for people new to kayaking. Water has a steady and quick flow and there are small sections of which require attention and are easily maneuvered by a beginner who can control their boat.
Making a reservation was easy, and Murray was helpful explaining differences between water choices for my group which has some paddling experience but no true whitewater experience.
Chestatee River was going to be too easy....middle Etowah a little too much since I have two beginners not quite ready for Class 2....Dawson WMA section seemed just right with easy paddling and some nice shoals, and easy Class 1 sections for beginner excitement.
Pick up service was on time and thoroughly prepared. Clean kayaks, clean vests, and a clean well maintained van. Parking area looks safe and secure with port o john and changing room recently built. Driver (?) explained some details and was helpful answering questions. We provided two of our own kayaks and Appalachian Outfitters provided four with vests and paddles.
I did have one no show from original group of seven, and owner Ben, called me next day to provide a refund to my credit card. I did not have to ask, he handled on his own. Nice touch.
We enjoyed a three hour trip which included limited side trips up short sections of Amicalola River and Shoal Creek (?) which can be paddled. No sign of civilization for three hours. Almost no trash or debris. Lot of Rhodendron on the banks/bluffs. Probably gorgeous in the spring with blooms and in the fall with leaves changing.
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