Launch: Olin public boat landing in Mcintosh, AL in Washington County off US 43. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Across the Tombigbee to Three Rivers Lake and back. Distance: 15.1 miles round trip. Average Speed: 3.2 mph. Time: Approx 5 hrs. Pace: Hard going upstream, easy going down. Weather: Sunny and warm.
(1) Above left. It was a perfect morning sunrise and the waters of the Tombigbee looked innocent and inviting. (2) Above right. I made one mistake in planning this trip to explore Three Rivers Lake area – I neglected to look at the river levels - it hadn’t rained in several days. Should have known - the rains were torrential further up in the state. Once on the river, it was obvious that the river level was 5-10 feet higher than normal. All the sandbars were under water and the current was flowing at a swift 3-4 mph.
(3) Above left. I fought the current for about 3 hours to go 4 miles upstream to finally arrive at the willow tree entrance to Three Rivers Lake. It is one thing to go upstream into current and turn around to go back. It is another to be pulled into a creek with a 3-4 mph current. Without knowing what the river conditions were going to do (it could get worse), I chose not to explore the Three Rivers Lake. (4) Above right. When areas get flooded, insects and spiders have no choice but to share cramped living quarters.
(5) Above left. On the return trip, you could see just how fast the volume of water was flowing when passing by the many river buoys. (6) Above right. When I got back near the launch site, the current was really ripping which allowed me to paddle at 8-9 mph downstream along with the stream of tree debris. Next time I’ll look at the river levels before going into the upper delta so as to avoid tough currents like this.