Note: Ted and a couple of his buddies took a kayak trip this week into what I call “Deliverance” country. He packed his camera into a zip-lock bag, his kayak into the bed of his truck, and left home Wednesday morning to meet the guys at Turkey Creek. Below is his story . . . in his own words.
One of our friends on the lake asked if I wanted to go on a kayak trip the Wednesday after Easter and then go eat oysters at The Old Inne, a restaurant just off the lake – with a stop by our favorite watering hole, Booger Bottom, between the kayak trip and the oysters. I loved the idea. Let me remind all Brenda’s readers, I’m about to be sixty-five, and these guys are Brenda’s son Jason’s age. I knew I was in for a workout.
Ike and Joe were my two kayaking partners. Ike has a weekend house on the lake, but lives near Macon. He manages a wildlife and nature preserve that backs up to Indian Springs State Park off I-75 at the High Falls exit, on the way to Atlanta. His friend Joe lives on St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast.
We left Ike’s house on the lake and trucked our kayaks to Turkey Creek, above the official beginning of Lake Blackshear. Brenda has talked in her blog about Turkey Creek before because this is where we have eaten some farewell dinners with friends before leaving for Michigan. By car, it is about 15-20 miles from our house.
Once we arrived at the junction with the Flint, we headed downstream toward the lake. Brenda has talked about our lake before, but I’m going to give you a refresher course. It is called Lake Blackshear and was created by the damming of the Flint River in the late 1920’s. It is approximately 20 miles long and rarely more than one mile wide. It covers about 8,500 acres and has close to 97 miles of shoreline.
Since politics was big in the area from 1840 until 1846, the two groups were at war with one another, and fights broke out anytime one crossed the river into the other’s town. These differences were put aside in 1847 when the communities buried the hatchet and united in building a steamboat to travel the Flint River to Apalachicola on the Gulf of Mexico. The name of the steamboat was the Magnolia, and she made two trips before getting stuck on shoals at Adams Creek above Albany. It took 18 months to float her off, and that was the end of the partnership between the two towns. Today, as we pass this area, there is very little to remind us that on one bank stood the county seat of Dooly County (Drayton) and on the other bank was located the largest town in Sumter County (Danville).
Let me assure you I’m not the naturalist that Ike is. He had brought his long tongs to grab snakes in a way not to injure them. He actually likes snakes. He also assured us that these back waters would lead us back to the main river. I wasn’t so sure, but my compass did show we were heading south.
In all, the trip on the water took a little more than three hours, and we had traveled 4 to 5 miles on the creeks, river, and lake. It was like another world. The scenery was beautiful, it had been a great day, and we had a great guide. No snake bites or incidents with gators. In fact we only saw three gators, two were 5-7 feet, and one was a baby.
There are many more stories and lots more history I could share with you – like the wooden pool now covered by the lake, where semi-pro baseball players used to party. There are ferry crossings, Andrew Jackson’s visit to Fort Early, and the battle fought on the Flint to stop Spanish expansion into the English territory in 1702. But Brenda just said “that is enough history and geography for one day for my readers.”
Thanks for traveling along with me. By the way, after this trip, the beer and oysters tasted mighty fine!