By far, this is one of my favorite lakes. (But I say that about all our lakes.) Lake Tugaloo is wild and undeveloped and it’s practically in my backyard. It is also very deep—from what I have read over 300 feet in some places. Along the shoreline only 50 to 60 feet deep and much less the closer you get to the Chattooga River.
I choose to live in northeast Georgia because it is so close to so many things I enjoy—people, places, and not far from my work. The lakes in this area always catch my attention, especially during the summer months. I’ve written about this before, but Tallulah Gorge runs into one end of this lake. The Chattooga River flows in on the other. It’s very dramatic.
No houses on this lake and only boats with 20hp are allowed. It’s a three-mile paddle from the Bull Sluice boat ramp to the last waterfall on the Chattooga River. We were determined to paddle there and back, especially since Beth had never been there before. Honestly, it once took most of the day to do this, but now we do it in 2 to 3 hours and that’s even with me in recovery mode from Chemo.
It’s not a hard paddle, but we always stop along the way and take plenty of photos.
River groups run rafting expeditions down the Chattooga River. I can remember a time when I came down the river and did not have a shuttle to get me to the boat ramp! Today after they run the river, they place a Jon boat in the middle of the group and everyone hangs on and away they go!
More rafters coming our way, but they are all friendly natives! They smile and wave, and I know what they are thinking: We made it over Bull Sluice (class IV)! I’ve gone over the same rapid in a raft but not in a kayak and I have thought the same thing! I have lived to paddle again.
We were not worried about rapids on this day. There was a full lake in front of us and that was all that mattered. I was paddling again, I was outside; and yes, I would physically pay for this adventure later but who cares!
As we paddled along we “felt” a swoosh go by us. I immediately knew it was something big. We got to see our first eagle of the year. He went straight up into a tall tree but I did not have a long lens with me. So this is an enlargement of him. There’s something about seeing an American Eagle that changes your perspective about the wilderness you are in. This is his world and we were visitors!
Here is the very lower end of the Chattooga River. It doesn’t look like much but it is very fast.
It’s not where the movie Deliverance was filmed (I’ve never watched the entire movie and don’t want to), and I did not hear banjos playing. But two small outboard boats of guys with fishing gear did make it up to this point and started shouting greetings out to us. They wanted to know if we wanted a “beer.” Really? Nope. They kept getting their fishing lines caught on the rocks. I wonder why? After all it is the Chattooga, right?
When I grow up I want to be a Whitewater Kayaker!
These two are not Whitewater Kayakers! But they have a lot of fun paddling.
Heading back. . . . It’s three miles to the boat ramp. I put the distance out of my mind. The river moves here and took us down stream quickly.
It’s just a beautiful place. So grateful to be near this lake.
Beth mentioned that if the trees were not on the side of the mountains that we would be in a gorge, and she is right. When you get up to the sides of the river and look up all you see are boulders.
But near the river, I was looking at tall grasses and cattails along with turtles and bullfrogs.
Finally, we can see the boat ramp in the distance. If you paddle past it and continue another 4 miles, you’ll be at the bottom of Tallulah Gorge!