In honor of Jango’s 1st Birthday (12/14/2021!), today’s post is about one of her favorite places to float in a canoe, Terrapin Creek. As part of Alabama’s scenic river trail, Terrapin is one of the most popular and best loved places in Alabama. This particular float is one we’ve done several times, and we like it a lot. We put canoes in at Stewart’s bridge, near Centre, AL and float 13 miles to Highway 9. We like to float in our own separate boats, and Jango likes to ride with Shannon.
The past 2-3 times we’ve floated here, we’ve seen some cool wildlife. Lots of great blue heron, wood ducks, and one time I saw a beaver slide down the bank and play hide and seek with me for a few minutes. Unfortunately, the beaver did not want it’s picture taken.
I’m no genius, but I do have walking around sense. I have an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree, and I read a lot. But I had no idea that terrapin meant turtle. According to Wikipedia :
“Terrapins are one of several small species of turtle living in fresh or brackish water. Terrapins do not form a taxonomic unit and may not be related. Many belong to the families Geoemydidae and Emydidae.The name “terrapin” is derived from torope, a word in an Algonquian language that referred to the species Malaclemys terrapin (the Diamondback terrapin). It appears that the term became part of common usage during the colonial era of North America and was carried back to Great Britain. Since then, it has been used in common names for testudines in the English language.“
Alll of that to say that there are a bajillion turtles on Terrapin Creek.
This particular float was on Memorial Day. We have friends, Scott and Christy, who have some camping land near the take-out, who’d invited us to come and spend some time with them post-float. The Terrapin hosts several kayak rental establishments, and Shannon had said that he’d witnessed scores of people on holiday weekends in the past. He said, “You could just about cross the whole river by using boats as stepping stones there were so many” . Shannon is an excellent story teller, but sometimes I suspect he embellishes a bit. We decided to set out bright and early and get ahead of the fray.
We floated along for a couple of hours, just the 3 of us, enjoying the cool morning air and the easy pace of the float. That is, until we reached The Redneck Yacht Club. The change in the atmosphere was an assault to the system. Shannon had not exaggerated at all whatsoever about this crowd. There were at least 50 boats in the water around the launch with boaters waiting for others in their groups to get it together. There were at least 50 more boats and paddlers waiting in line to launch, and another 50 who were already in the water floating. They were heavy laden with coolers, loud music, costumes, flags, and all kinds of gear. I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life, and I’m sorry to say that I deleted my photos of this spot so I can’t show you what we saw. Here are some solid examples.
The next couple of hours were spent navigating in between other boats, much like an obstacle course. I couldn’t take photos because I had to keep both hands on the paddles and constantly take care not to bump into other boats or lose Shannon and Jango in the crowd.
As I mentioned, we ended our float at Scott and Christy’s camp. It sits directly beside an old busted concrete dam, which is now more or less a waterfall. It is also in between the put in and take out spots for the Redneck yacht club. We had a fantastic time watching people navigate this spot, and as they were having fun too, it was a great time. We cheered them on, they waved back, and when they capsized, we made sure they came up unharmed.
Jango was only 5 months old at the time, and this float wore her completely out. She was very busy worrying about Shannon, monitoring wildlife, and playing with the other pups at the campsite.
It’s always a fun time on Terrapin Creek, but personally I prefer to float it when it’s not a holiday. I’ll end with another video. This time of Shannon floating over the dam in my canoe, on his knees – just for the fun of it. Jango barking because she wasn’t invited that time….. Enjoy!