I mentioned a few days ago that Honey landed a new job! Well, he had three days off before he started this Monday so we decided to check something off of our 40×40 lists: Shoot the Hooch! We had no real plan, so late the night before we looked at couple of places to put in the river down here in Atlanta and nearly fell out of our seats at the $26 PER person charge. A quick search revealed that we could do it in Helen, Georgia (about an hour and a half drive) for $5 person!!!! And, just like that, we were off on a Wednesday adventure!
I can’t say enough good things about our trip! My sweet reader Christi recommend Cool River Tubing on Instagram. The process was easy… head to their Chattahoochee Outpost, park for free, purchase your hand stamp, board the shuttle and shoot the hooch! We opted for the short one-hour route, but there is also a longer two-hour option. Both are $5 or $9 for unlimited rides. I would recommend wearing water shoes, but that’s all you need to bring. Everything else is included. Also, they will store your car key and driver’s license in the main building for you because you WILL get wet!
The shuttle transports you up the river to the place where you put your rafts in. There are stairs to help you get down the embankment. There are small raftes for kids and larger rafts for adults. You can strap up to two rafts together, and the straps are complimentary. Kids have to wear life vests and those are complimentary as well.
The river flows at a very gentle pace and the little rapids are just that…. little. I was not worried at all about the kids.
Whenever we got to a slightly deeper area (I’d say we hit maybe two), the littles hopped off their rafts and swam along side us. They were so silly, “accidentally” falling off more than once.
The water was so refreshingly cool, very shallow (knee deep in most places), and clear. I loved all of this because I could see the bottom. By the time the Chattahoochee makes it’s way to Atlanta, it’s deep and murky.
The littles raved about it the entire time! It was really so much fun! At the end of the hour(ish), you find yourself right back where you started. There are nice clean changing rooms and restrooms to put on dry clothes.
I should note here that Helen, Georgia is nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains in North Georgia. What makes it so unique is that the little town is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers!
Our little rafting adventure left us starving. Like I said, we had absolutely NO plan, so it was really fun to fly by the seat of our pants for a change. We stumbled upon Hofers German Bakery & Cafe and had the most delightful meal.
After lunch we walked the Alpine village. The incredible aroma pouring out of Hansel & Gretel’s Candy Kitchen was irresistible. The littles chose caramel and chocolate covered apples and Honey and I went with fudge. It was amazing!
John was beside himself to get in The Jerky Store. I found the people in there to be just that… jerky, but it wasn’t enough to turn Honey and John away from buying leopard shark jerky. I wanted to vomit at the smell alone.
The hike to the waterfalls is relatively short at only about a half of a mile. It is uphill and a little steep in places, but there’s no reason not to make a leisurely stroll of it.
After cooling off with cold waters on the observation decks, we started our way back down. I couldn’t help but marvel at this shot… two young boys running down the mountain without a care in the world. No devices, no tv, just them and nature.
Back at the visitor’s center we spent a while on their observation deck as well. Most of that time was spent looking for trout (all three Georgia varieties can be seen here) and watching mister snake. Do you see him?
We won’t soon forget our fun, adventure filled, no agenda day driving up to Helen. I can’t say enough good things about it and KNOW we’ll be back! And, without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and call “Shoot the Hooch” on our 40×41, 40×42, and summer bucket lists COMPLETE!!!!!
PS. By Honey’s calculations we did ALL of this plus the gas to get there for LESS than the $104 it would have cost us for one hour in the Hooch in Atlanta. :-)
PPS. I ran into a sweet blog reader while rafting down the river!!!!!!! It’s such a small world. I’m so glad you said HI!