Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
-- Eddie Cantor
We are back home and thrown right back into reality. Was it just last week that home, job, bills etc. were the furthest thing from our mind? It seems hard to believe. What a trip.
I'm not sure where to start or even if I could articulate the great time that we had. I filled my 170 page journal that I took along with me with written entries every night before I dozed off to sleep. Each and every day was a new experience. Many new friends entered my life with the same goal of reaching our last day with 110 miles behind us. Some raced to the end leaving us in the dust, or should I say mud, while others paddled by and talked of life, family and dreams. Through rain, intense heat, and hard work we accomplished the same goal. We all made it.
Starting out at Buford Dam and seeing the crystal clear water had my adrenaline going. The many shoals of the Chattahoochee River that we had to steer around made for excitement. As we paddled our way toward Atlanta, the water was clearly changing. We became aware of just how this river needed to be maintained and the work that had to go into that. This was one of the reasons Paddle Georgia was born.
Some highlights stand out for me, but I can honestly say every day had many bright moments. After the first day of 17 miles and everyone wondering how we were going to master this task, not one gave up. With the youngest in the group being 4 and the oldest being 69, we definitely had a wide range of paddlers that totaled over 200 each day.
The 25 foot high diving rock was something to do. I saw the young boys and the men jump off. I think I did it to throw a little mixture into the crowd! But, on the other hand, I just couldn't pass it up. Maybe it was the thrill of trying something new at my age. :)
The 40 ft falls at Hilly Mill Creek was like paradise after sweating in the hot sun. We ate our lunch at this spot, but not before we felt that cool water. Being behind the falls is an awesome feeling as well as the massage we got by standing with the water running down our backs. I would have loved to stay the whole day there!
We all plan on returning next year for the trek down the Etowah River. That one week in June where paddling each day with nothing on our minds but the scenery and the next mile in front of us, is something I look forward to. Until then, I will treasure the memories, the new friends that have touched my life, and the inspiration I received along the way. Let the river flow.....