Alice’s Favorite Mile:Finding joy on the mighty Satilla River.
Black water, white sandbars, meandering banks and creeks… nothing beats an upland mile on the Satilla River.
Since moving to the coast five years ago, my family has paddled many miles of coastal rivers and streams in the “Ouzel,” our canoe. No place calls me back like the Satilla.
This summer we were fortunate to spend a long weekend on the river, an experience that only deepened my appreciation for its magic. For three days, we called a cabin near Atkinson at Deep Bend Landing, just off Hwy 259, our home. We settled there because it was far enough upstream that we didn’t have to combat “big water” closer to the coast. This stretch of river provides an amazing and intimate experience. Under the cover of pines and hardwoods, the river invites visitors to bask on the white sand bars, to float with in-side-out life jackets, to wander in the river birch floodplains, and to chase songbirds among the swampy lowlands.
Even with record rain, river levels were fairly low and the streamflow was gradual enough that my six year old and 15 month old spent nearly every waking hour at play in the blackwater. They were free to splash, dig, and discover. (What a thrill to hear the squeals of a six year old discovering for the first time a freshwater mussel she pulled out with her feet). We spent three wonderful days with pruney digits, water logged life jackets, and hearts full of joy of exploration!
My friend and the Satilla Riverkeeper Ashby Nix, knows every mile of the river and its people. It’s no surprise that she lights up when she describes the “sugar sands,” high bluffs, and oxbow lakes in this great watershed. Even writing this now, I can’t wait to get back out to this mighty river and experience more of its hidden treasures.