My father-in-law has something of an adventurous spirit and can often be found on mountain sides, in deserts or traversing canyons. a few months ago my wife passed on this travel journal of his which was published in one of the local papers and tells quite a story, not only of canoeing a river, but also the people and places found along the way.
Submitted for your approval, the journey of Harold Banks.
DESCENT OF TALLAPOOSA RIVER BY J. HAROLD BANKS
Thursday, April 16, 2009 through Sunday, April 26, 2009
April 16, 2009 – Day One
Hi 70, Lo 40, sunny
Thursday Night – Mile 6.5 – one-half mile below Coppermine Road, Paulding Co, GA
Amy and I arrive at the McClendon Creek Bridge on McGarity Road in Paulding County, Georgia at 9:15 a.m. This location is about 12 miles north of Villa Rica, Georgia. My intent is to launch my little red solo canoe in this tiny creek that meets Mud Creek one-half mile downstream to form the beginning of the Tallapoosa River. I will then follow the river 258 miles to its very end. Although I have done considerable scouting and planning, there are a lot of unknowns. An old man stops to see what‘s going on as I unload canoe and gear. He is a lifelong resident of the area and tells about the McClendon family who first settled here and built a corn grist mill on this site, hence the name of the creek.
I am apprehensive about the trip. Am I truly prepared? Did I train hard enough? I‘m trying to go ultra light, but am I leaving out something I‘ll need? I will be on my own. Have I planned for every contingency? I know I‘ll really have to push hard to average the 25 miles per day I‘ve planned. This will not be all fun. It will be very hard work. Am I too old for this sort of venture? These are the same heebie-jeebies I always feel before I start any of the adventures I‘ve taken. I put the canoe in the creek and Amy takes a few photos. Then I‘m off. All doubts fade away with the first few paddle strokes and I feel exhilarated. It‘s the same feeling I always get when I finally start an expedition. I know that I‘m now committed, there‘s no turning back, and I‘ll deal with whatever comes. It‘s a great feeling and the thrill lasted about 75 yards. That‘s when I hit the first log jam totally blocking the creek.