Going down the Tugalo Corridor with Kelly Vickers has become a tradition. Each spring he takes a group of us down the Tugalo River and out into Lake Hartwell. Along the way we pass the site of the prehistoric Indian village of Estatoe that was inhabited by Creek Indians. Further down the river, we stop at an Indian burial mound that was located near one of the largest Cherokee Indian towns in the country. I have no idea what Evan (Bird) was telling Pat and Sharon in this photo, but it looks like it has to do with how to sit down in a kayak.

Jim gives me a sly smile as he gets ready to move the kayak down to the river that he and Sharon used on the trip. None of us used canoes this year, and I think we all enjoyed the trip a lot more. I confess I’m ready to head back out with my kayak again really soon.

Pat looks good in her kayak, so does Donna, and Evan, too. We talked about it and decided that the most important part was looking good—though I don’t think Evan was fully on board with that part of the conversation.

Halfway down the river, we realized we had spent a great deal of time just floating along and talking and forgetting the cares of life. Jim spoke up and said, “Why are we always the last ones in the group!” Probably because he had ended up being with a group of women who on that day did not have a competitive bone in their bodies.

While Kelly told everyone about the history of the Estatoe Indian village, we leaned back and relaxed. It was a stress free day until we all got hungry. (smile) Then we were ready to stop and eat.

I know it looks like I’m posing for the camera, but actually I was thinking (worrying) about the camera and wondering if it would make it back to my waterproof bag without incident. This is the third time I have taken this trip and each time I have taken a camera with me. Usually its the lighter Nikon D40 and so far, it has never been dunked. But I know that I can’t continue to take it with me.

So I’m considering getting a little Go Pro video camera. It’s waterproof and surrounded in a nearly indestructible case. Or I just need to buy a waterproof camera.

Jim and Sharon stop long enough to take some photos under Prather Bridge and to listen to Kelly talking about how Union Soldiers crossed the bridge during the Civil War. It was built in 1804, and over its life time, it burned three times. The final time was in 1978. You can see the bridge supports barely in the background of this photo. Before 1804, fords and ferries were used to cross the river.

Paddling down river and passing the place where ferries once crossed the Tugalo River carrying people and their livestock.

The lake is really low this year thanks to the Corp of Engineers and the controversial plan to continue to release water for lakes further down stream. Normally, this tree stump would be completely covered with water. The lake level is so low that it was easy to beach your kayak and get out and walk around. Kelly’s quick eyes spotted pieces of broken Indian pottery. I’ll post photos of those in a day or so. Tomorrow’s post will feature Cocoa Joy at Vogel State Park! We have to get her back on this Web site!!

Here’s this year’s group photo courtesy of Kelly Vickers.

Kelly sent this one, too. He told me later that I was just bobbin’ down the river like a cork. 🙂