Look for Sweetwater Creek to be runing 800 cfs and rising or locally heavy rain of at least 1.25 inches.Annewakke will drop back down to nothing in a matter of hours. The sweetwater gauge is used to show if Annewakkee has gotten enough rain to check, but sweetwater holds water for days.
The put-in is on Annewakee Road and there's good parking on the downstream side of the bridge. There is a great but grabby playspot right at the putin. The creek picks up quickly and gets your blood pumping with a few fun class 2's. Then it's flat for a bit... then the horizon line. The first large drop is about 9 feet and reminds me of the Upper Tellico. It's a safe drop if run left of center, look out for the "Hole of Doom" on the center-right after the main drop. It probably wouldn't kill you but you'd probably swim out. It's easy to miss.
Next is a short class 2-3 section that runs through a power line cut. There are some great waves here! You used to be able to drive (4x4 only!) out the power lines to this spot but thanks to vandals the entrance has been cabled off.
Be VERY careful not to just drop over the next horizon line immediatley after the power lines, you could get REALLY hurt. The next drop is about a 12 footer and really kicks. The river left side is an almost certain pin. The water runs down a slide and hits a jagged rock and forms a kind of mini Oceana with a not-so-forgiving "Thing". The left of center line has rocks at the bottom so that's no good. The center line seems the way to go, angling to the right a bit.. Be careful not to get sucked back into the hole at the bottom or you're swimming. The right side could be OK but we didn't run it. The far right side is a plunge into the abyss and we didn't know what was down there so it's still a mystery. The portage is on river right.
After the big drop there is a 1/4 mile of class 3 water with a fun double drop that's a strong III+ at normal levels and turns into solid 4 at high flow. After this, the river takes a sharp turn to the right and slows down for a mile or so. Then it takes a hard turn to the left and cuts through another ridge, the action picks up here again and a few class 2's and 3's appear but nothing like the upper section. A bit of flat water gets you to the take out on Ga 166.
This is a great run! We were very impressed. The water quality is not great but the rapids are! As of March 2002 there were a few dead falls that needed to be carried over but no "strainers of doom".
FYI, Sweetwater reached almost 4 feet that day after rain the night before and Annewakee was at a comfortable level. It could certainly be done higher, but not much lower. Total rainfall for the previous night was about 1.2 inches and it was still raining lightly when we put on at 2pm. It will take you between 1.5 to 2.5 hours to make this run barring any epic adventures.
Just a historical tidbit from a native.
I grew up in Douglas county. Back in the late 80's I helped a friend that did custom upholstery. We did some work for the property owner on the upstream, uphill side of the bridge and delivered all of it over a period of a couple of months. After about the 3rd trip or so, I inquired about the glimpses of water through the trees. He took us back to the lake. It was gorgeous, pristine, and slap full of grown alligators. He put them in the lake 10-15 years before. He harvested them for the hide and the meat. It also had a thriving cottonmouth population that had reached an age and size most snakes don't.
That spillway on the north side comes from that lake(I ca ll it that because it is fed and drained by a creek.). Back in the mid 90's, a gator turned up in that manicured pond just pass the bridge headed toward 92. It was a young adult...8 ft or so. Douglas county sheriff and the local DNR milked that gator for a week because it led all three local newscasts untill they finally hooked the poor thing on a big surf rig.
Thing is, there was no shortage of locals that had the means, skills, and tools to have had that gator on the truck within 24 hrs. There was no shortage of locals that was dying for the chance to catch that gator. I'm sure the sheriff was offered some fat checks for the priviledge. However, catching the gator was a clumsy, amatuer, effort that put the gator under stress way longer than it should. It took hours after the catchee viciously set the hook with multiple, violent upswings of the tree like surf rod trying to turn the gator....by the look on his face caught on camera when the gator turned and ran, he thought he did. He dang near got drug in.
It took hours to land the gator...who was pretty much dead by then.
It's the only time in my life I've been embarrased by the DCSD. Really it was the DNR's guy to blame....he made the call. Being DNR...he should've known the basics behind catching a gator. Short lines tied off to something anchored to land, built to hold a thrashing bull, the gator comes up, eats the bait, then sits peacefully enjoying it's meal. Here's the trick...While the gator is eating, one must sneak up close enough to get a kill shot before the gator see you or hears you which will result in an angry gator on a short rope in shallow water close to you...thrashing so violently getting a kill shot is not an option. The window for a kill shot on a gator...just like a pig, is about the size of a LL baseball on his head.
Anyway, the property owner was elderly back then. I'm sure he's gone. I bet he passed it down to relatives...the property still looks about the same.
Ran it a couple of days ago. The big rock on river left at powerslam is gone now. Left line is super fast super fun. The old bridge support that had the red line used as a gauge is gone now too because they are building a new bridge.... I'll work on getting something out there. Sweetwater went up to only 2.25 and we still had good water. Lots of new strainers!!
I would say that the red line is a little high but still runnable. Optimal would be about -2' but it's still runnable down to around -5 I think...... although that would be pretty boney.
Whats the correlation with the red line on the gauge bridge piling??
Did it today 11/28 We put on at 10. Sweetwater was 4.67 feet and rising. It was definitely low. Doable but too low to be any fun. One thing I have to add is that powerslam is definitely not 12 feet high, it is a 7-8 foot ledge. Oh and i saw the "thing" it was a large cubic piece of rock that formed a minor sieve and has huge pinning possibilities. It would be a great run with high water.
I believe the vertical drop above the put-in is the spillway of a residential lake. I've never walked up there, it's all private property on either side above the bridge. I assume you could put in above the lake, paddle across the lake, and run the spillway but I'm not sure. If anyone finds out, let us all know.
It was too big to run after tropical storm bill dumped on us today. Whats the vertical drop upstream of the put-in?
We went to hurricane. It was awesome!!!
WOW!! Great photos and movies Chad! I'd never seen it at that level. The "mini-thing" at PowerSlam looks even nastier at high water... certain PAIN! At that level, would you rate PowerSlam and the following 1/4 mile section IV?
On 10-29 we took a look at Annewakee late in the afternoon. Sweetwater was pumping at 5.5 but the ledge above the anawakee put-in was looking really scrappy. We passed and took the 4 minute drive back to sweetwater.
At PowerSLAM we ran the far right line at lower water than in the pictures. The center was dry and just to the right of it you could see a shallow shelf right at the base of the drop. The far right line was plenty deep at the bottom. The hole was still grabby even at low water. The left side of the drop has a nasty undercut/sieve rock formation that would be super nasty. I really liked the rapid 50 yrds downstream from PowerSLAM. At lower water with only a little play it took us about 2 1/2 hours. There were about 4 or 5 deadfalls to contend with below the first mile of rapids.
Anneewakee Creek apparently is much more flashy than Sweetwater, that is, it apparently drops pretty quickly. We paddled it today after work, and Sweetwater was close to 5.5 ft from last night's rain, having crested just a few hours before we got on Anneewakee, yet Anneewakee was much lower than on Patrick's run. For a correlation, I would guess that it's important that Sweetwater is rising or that it has rained recently. If you look at the small ledge hole just upstream of the put-in and it looks like a decent, fun hole, then the level is probably good. If it looks like a small, shallow pourover, it's going to be pretty low. It was still a fun run, some very fun little sticky holes here and there, but not nearly as exciting as it would be higher water.
Photos are from early March 2002.
Great photos Patrick!!!
8 years ago
by Chris Robinson
There is now a gauge on Annewakee. For now i'll take a guess that 200 cfs is a minimum. Add comments for updates.
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Usual scene on Annawakee
There's a rock in there!!
 Level indicator at put-in
 level indicator ledge/hole/wave at putin
 above PowerSlam!
 Exploding wave at PowerSlam!
 Last Big Rapid
 Below PowerSlam!
 Nice wave at top of Powerline Rapids
 Hole below AnneWakeUp
 Powerline Rapids
Mike gets PowerSLAMMED!
You want me to go where?
Hey, where's your boat going?
Where'd he go??
This is NOT good
Headed for Trouble
Mike has great form !!
Mike sets up for PowerSLAM!
Annewakee PowerLine Wave
Annewakee Putin Hole
Annewakee 1st Drop
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Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie “Deliverance.” Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast’s first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S.“Terry adopted me as one of his students,” Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. “it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States.” Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!
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