"We grabbed our SUPs, dry bags and cameras, to paddle self supported for three days, on Georgia’s Altamaha River, aka the “Little Amazon.” With our cars 54 miles downstream and our bags filled with (hopefully) enough food and water, we stood up, and pointed downstream.
Friend, collaborator and owner of Bishop Boards, Todd Bishop has always been drawn to the Altamaha and I can see why. The verdant river winds its way through truly wild feeling spaces with ample camping opportunities, and great wildlife sightings. Todd wanted to test out a few boards, take some pictures and unplug for the weekend. I thought it was a great idea.
In March, I flew from my home in Colorado, where I packed a few cameras, my dry bags and the thin sleeping bag, because, “hey this is Georgia, how cold could it be, right?” Wrong. Turns out it can get cold at night here too!
Along for the ride was Todd’s son, as well as a few good friends from Charleston, SC. Everyone else had loads more SUP experience than me, so I was excited to learn as we passed the miles. We all assembled at the put-in, in Jessup, GA and got our gear sorted. I paddled a 14’ Bishop Boards A’u and was pleasantly surprised that we could fit all our stuff for three days on top. I already had the few dry bags, and Todd hooked us up with some boards and paddles to test.
We got started in the late afternoon on Day One and paddled the gentle but steady current to our first camp. A small flat area, used as a fish camp in the past, we were glad to be home. We arrived at dark and got our hammocks and tents set up. After a quick dinner it was easy to crash, having had a long day of travel already.
Day two dawned clear and calm, and after some quick grits (when in Georgia) we got back on the water, with miles to make. The consistent, meditative state of paddling for an entire day on the water was just what I needed. No whitewater, or ocean currents to deal with, we had the freedom to go fast, slow, talk, go solo, explore little side channels and look for gators and unique birds.
After lunch on the water and a true full day of paddling we arrived at camp two, repeating our routine. The night was colder, and I learned my lesson of actually reading forecasts instead of just assuming things about the places I’ll be going!
Our third day included some fun navigating as the river begins to fan out in its delta. It was a fun challenge to weave in and out of channels and try to find the most efficient, or at least the most fun route. We took out in Darien, GA, happy, thirsty and hungry.
The SUPs are great fun, fantastic exercise and seem to be built for this kind of touring. I hadn’t ever spent that much consecutive time standing on one, but it was really easy. Touring, even if just for a day is such a great, accessible way to get people out on the water and the Altamaha was a beautiful introduction to it! So get out there and give it a try!"