So a fellow from Atlanta was paddling the Chattooga a few years ago and came upon an interesting critter sticking up out of the mud. Turned out it was an old old canoe, buried along the bank. Preliminary carbon dating showed it to be approximately 260 years old.
Onward… contact the state (which one? The Chattooga seperates Georgia and South Carolina where the canoe was found. Turns out it’s on the SC side). Contact the feds. Nobody wants to dedicate the time or money to pull the archeological item out.
Enter the Chattooga Conservancy and its fearless leader, Buzz Williams. Buzz, no stranger to governmental beaurocracy, devises a plan to get that ole canoe out his damn self. And, during the weekend of May 1st, that’s exactly what we did.
Warwoman creek. Cold, cold water. This enters the Chattooga. We had to cross it, and the Chattooga, to attempt to meet up with some kids from a nearby camp to assist in bringing in the cradle for the canoe.
Here’s a purty flower we stumbled upon. Not a great pic, though.
The kids, the cradle and E-Rawk. That cradle is custom built, 32 feet long and about 360 pounds. Gotta accomodate a 32 foot canoe, after all.
Buzz explains the subtleties of dragging this bohemoth along a mile and a quarter weavy schweavy trail.
Break time! I’ve got few pictures of the cradle being carried ’cause, well, I was helping carry it. It was quite a task, working it through doglegs, up and down hills. Took damn near all day to get it down to the rivers edge.
Another rest break, and time to talk to Duane for a bit. Next up; attach the floatation and get it across the river to the South Carolina side.
Over the bridge. We had to cross two of these. They’re so thin that you’ve no choice but to walk inside the cradle. How the hell are we gonna get this back across with a waterlogged 32 foot boat?
Chattooga :: April 29-May 2 2004Part 2
These kids are invaluable. That float is heavy, and he carried it pretty much all the way. Trooper.
The rivers edge, and WYFF channel 4 is there. I’ve got a grab of their coverage that I’ll be upping as soon as I secure room for it.
Across the river it goes. That fella in the white shirt and brown pants is the director of the museum where the canoe will eventually rest.
Folks crossing the Chattooga.
The cradle in all its glory.
The magic of waders. Good pic, Duane!
Time to unearth the canoe. Bob, Kent and the kids get ready to go.
Chattooga :: April 29-May 2 2004Part 3
Gently waving the sand away; the dugout is beginning to appear.
Next day, and the canoe is in the cradle, though not yet secured. Check out them surfer dudes.
From across the river.
Erawk’s cuttin’ some donated foam to lock in the canoe tight.
Sasha ponders what the wimmenz back at the rendevous are up to right now.
Just about ready to go!
The pics of the upriver trip that follow were taken by Butch, and I can’t thank him enough for them. I couldn’t take pics ’cause, well, it woulda been tough, what with the water and all.
Aaaannnd… we’re off! Erawks givin’ it 150%.
Chattooga :: April 29-May 2 2004Part 4
First rest stop, while the folks in charge scope out how to get it over the next set of rapids. A crowd is forming.
And off again. Hey; wait for me, dammit!
Up the shoals.
This, my friend, is work.
Up and over. Thankfully the water was fairly shallow at the bottom of this rapid. We hit a few that had deep holes right in front of them. Made it real tough to get the cradle up and over the rocks, havin’ no place to get footing.
Yup. See the ass end of the cradle? See all them folks floatin? That’s one of the holes I mentioned. Those two guys standing at the back are up on top of the rear float.
Chattooga :: April 29-May 2 2004Part 5
I think Buzz (on the rope) worked harder than any of us.
Calm, cold waters.
Finally to the take-out, and the crowd has grown.
Buzz meets up with Christopher Amer, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology at USC, and the main who raised the Hunley.
Off with the floats… and there’s another damn rock in my sandal.
Yup… about ready to go again.
I think we preferred travelling through the water over being on land.
Chattooga :: April 29-May 2 2004Part 6
Lotta folks around to help out though. Watch that rock!
Woo hoo! The press is here again. Makeup!!
Breaktime to move some deadfall outta the way.
Finally; the trailer. Man; lookit all the folks! Where the hell did they all go when we had to walk all the way back down to the take-out and tote them heavy ass floats back up to the trailer?
No glory in that, I guess.
Buzz talkin’ up the crowd, hoping everyone doesn’t bail before we get it to the museum. Still gotta get it off the trailer and into the museum, doncha know.
Chattooga :: April 29-May 2 2004Part 7