Sunday, April 22, 2012
(Kayak) Hike: Hatchett Creek from Coosa County 29 to Shoals and then downstream a few miles toward Lake Mitchell. Sat. 04/21/2012, 14:30-17:00CDT
Distance: 5 miles Rating: 5.5/5
Conditions: Overcast. Variable wind. Mild temps. Water temp cool. Level of Hatchett Creek is high - appears to be at full pool. Small county-owned landing/park was mowed and creek access was gravel and dirt launch. Rain over the last few days made some of the area muddy/soggy.
Enjoyed this Kayak Hike immensely! This may be the most picturesque and peaceful spot we have found yet. Not many boaters or much traffic noise in the area to distract.
My brother and I launched from the landing on County 29 and paddled upstream a mile to the shoals. We were escorted by small herons, kingfishers, and other "water birds". A couple of water snakes were also noted as we meandered upstream. Wild azaleas and honeysuckle were blooming on both sides of the creek. The perfume was wonderful. At times we were serenaded by a chorus of frogs.
The shoals were a treasure. The roar of the water signaled our arrival at the shoals before we could actually see any of it. I was pleasantly surprised to find a blooming stand of the rare "Cahaba Lily". (I should have brought my camera...) After playing around downstream of the shoals we turned our yaks downstream toward Lake Mitchell.
The creek bluffs seemed to be steeper and higher downstream of the landing. The wild azaleas seemed to cascade from the top of the bluffs all the way to water's edge, an amazing sight. The honeysuckle and sweet shrub combined to make a wonderful sweet perfume.
One of the joys of travel by yak is discovery of unique, "secret" coves and backwaters. There were two such places on this stretch of the creek. The first was small but seemed almost magical. The narrow cove was flanked by a rising bluff on one side and a lowland (swampy area) on the other. Some type of white-blooming shrub lined the banks. The high bluff protected the cove from wind and so the light, white blooms of the shrubs would gently float to the water's surface like snow. It was so still and quite in this cove. With the slow drift of the white blooms, the soft sounds of the yak paddles, and the stillness of the forest all around, time seemed to move in slow motion. I could have stayed in this cove much longer.
The other discovery was a large slough hidden by trees and entered only by a small opening along the creek-bank. We were surprised at the size of the slough. This looked like a good spot for a secret cabin -- guess someone else must have thought so... we found a canoe stashed along the banks!
A wonderful day and an exploration long overdue.
Thank YOU, LORD, for such a wondrous place and for sharing YOUR treasures with us.