Saturday, January 31, 2009

01/31/2009 – Gunnison Creek Club Paddle

Launch: Steele Creek Park in Satsuma, AL
Cost: Free.
Distance: Approx 6 miles
Route: Up Gunnison Creek to just past Interstate 65 and back.
Pace: Leisurely.
Average Speed: 2.7 mph.
Weather: Sunny, 55-60 degrees, calm conditions.

Today I led a kayak club paddle up Gunnison Creek and had the pleasure of padding with Ryan, her mom Randi, and Kristen, all three from Bay Minette, and Tom, and John. Hope I’m spelling names right.

1) Kristen and Ryan take the lead up Gunnison Creek in ideal kayaking conditions.

2) John and Tom look at a small paddle wheel boat.

3) Everyone was enjoying a pleasant deep blue sky day.

4) It didn’t look like there were very many homes on this creek based on looking at Google. Must have been an old image – there were a lot of homes along Gunnison Creek.

5) Randi looks at another paddle wheel boat – we saw 3 on this trip.

6) Kristen eyes the creek banks for wildlife which we didn’t see much of except for a few turtles. The water had a slight green tint to it and I was surprised how clear it was. We also noticed that there were Red Maples starting to put out color.

7) The cow on the creek bank seemed a little startled as it watched all the colorful kayaks going by. (click on the photo for a larger view – the cow is on the bank just above Randi’s front hatch). I couldn’t tell if the cow was watching only the red kayaks or not.

8) Not far after crossing under I-65 we stopped for a short break at our turn around point. These timbers are remains of the old bridge crossing for old US Highway 43. I was thinking this might be a great place for launching a kayak but it is private property according to Probate Court records. On the other side of the creek is a swimming hole diving platform about 20-30 feet in the air.

9) A couple of shortcuts were taken on the way back. Gunnison Creek has a several splits in it, some leading quickly to dead ends, others merely loops.

10) All good things must come to an end. If you look at this photo carefully, the one thing I didn’t anticipate was for the water to be so low. It was a long drop from the dock to the water surface today as compared to other times meaning everyone had to use the concrete boat ramp to launch.

Thankfully no one went swimming today. Rising air temperatures can promote kayaking in t-shirts or other light clothing. It is important though, to remember the water temperature doesn’t change rapidly like air temperature. A boater drowned in the Tensaw River today. Be careful out there!

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