More than 84 paddlers lined up at Carter’s Bight Landing on the Altamaha River for the Fall Canoe Paddle and “Linda Coleman Carson” Memorial Paddle on Saturday, September 22, hosted by the Baxley-Appling County Board of Tourism. It was a cool foggy fall morning excitement was in the air as participants from ages 7 to 80 years old geared up to canoe down the Altamaha. Paddlers came from all over South East Georgia (Baxley, Blackshear, Bristol, Claxton, Eatonton, Glennville, Hazlehurst, Jesup, Richmond Hill, Savannah, St. Simons Island, Surrency, Vidalia, Waycross) launching 53 canoes, kayaks, and boats around 9:20 a.m. From starting point of Carter’s Bight Landing to make the 12 mile excursion to conclude at Upper Wayne Landing. Owner, Larry Brantley-Jesup of Altamaha Expeditions, provided most of the canoes for the paddle while some carried their own canoes.
The start was characterized by complete anticipation some paddlers were beginners and did not know how far they could paddle, some paddlers were experienced and were paddling for a race to the finish, some paddlers were paddling for their churches, and some paddlers were just paddling for leisure and did not care when they finished. The river level was low but no one seemed to let it bother them because they were having so much fun. People of all walks of life participate in our canoe paddles every year, but this year we had an extraordinary eleven-year-old young man, who is a cancer survivor, who paddled down the Altamaha River along with his dad and sister. This young man was full of joy as he told another paddler that he has been wanting to paddle every year and finally got his wish.
The Board of Tourism would like to thank the Appling County Board of Education, The Baxley-News Banner, WBYZ, the Appling County Commissioners, the Altamaha River Partnership, Southeastern Gin, and all the individuals/volunteers that made this event a huge success. The next paddle on the Altamaha River will be the River Rat Run June 1, 2013. For more information about future events and registrations, check out our website a www.baxley.org or contact Paula Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-367-7731.