June 26, 2017: I was happy to talk to Matt Thielke from WGXA today about the river levels on the Ocmulgee and why I cancelled all my canoe and kayak trips but one over the weekend when the river got so high from the recent rains. Was it doable? Yes, but the current was moving so quickly that it would be easy to overshoot the takeout, or if someone did flip, finding a safe place to get back in the boat would have been impossible. When it gets this high, all the beaches are underwater and the river is up on the banks and among the underbrush and trees. I don't feel comfortable when my customers are on the river and the risks are so much greater than when the river is at a more customary level. Life is full of risks, but I don't believe in taking unnecessary ones or letting my clients do that. Safety and peace of mind mean a lot more to me than revenue. It's our motto: Canoes, Kayaks and Inner Peace.
Oh, let me clarify a misconception from the video in the link: OOE no longer offers inner tube trips down the Ocmulgee. When OOE lost the bid to be the concessionaire in Amerson last year, OOE was told that inner tube trips belong solely to the winner. At OOE, we offer great trips in canoes and kayaks and only canoes and kayaks.
Summer of 2016 and The 11th Hour did a story about getting out on the river. OOE was interviewed for the article. Here's our favorite: “The Ocmulgee is Macon’s backyard and over and over I hear first time paddlers say “Wow, I never realized it’s so beautiful!” explained O’Neal, “It’s so close, parts of it are in downtown Macon, but the urban feeling disappears. You’re outside in nature and it’s pretty. Doesn’t matter if the sun is shining or it’s a cloudy day. The experience of being “out there,” away from the crowds, especially on a weekday or the Half Day Float, can’t be found in downtown Macon. Downtown has its own joys and beauty, but it’s urban beauty. Being on the river changes your rhythm. Your blood pressure drops, you relax as you drift down the river and you take a big breath and release stress and feel the water on your hands as you trail them in the river and you realize that you’ve been given a gift of peace and joy and all it took was getting in a boat and getting on the Ocmulgee.”
The 11th Hour is Macon's alternative newspaper and they featured Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions in May 2017. It's true: you should always do what you love, but remember, you have to pay the bills. Thankfully, we're paying the bills and having fun putting folks on the Ocmulgee.