Hooching in Atlanta

Despite some major drawbacks, and a lack of internet, the 70’s look like they were awesome, and I’m completely bummed to have missed out on a few things from that decade. See: the Ramblin Raft Race.  More than 300,000 people descended on the river in homemade rafts every Memorial Day weekend.  Official sponsors included short shorts, mustaches and Stroh’s beer.  Who knew Tech students could start something so cool?

The event was eventually shut down because it was too much fun, according to this AJC article, and Atlantans got busy dedicating a few decades to pouring chemicals directly into the water. A reasonable person would assume that one should generally avoid contact with ITP Chattahoochee “water,” right?

Um, wrong. Enter “shooting the hooch.” People actually do this. I’ve witnessed it, experienced it first-hand, in fact, and spent the next three to five days anxiously inspecting the skin that had been exposed for signs of poisoning. No ill effects reported, but it really can’t be good for anyone.

An alternative is driving up to Helen for hooch-shooting, which is nice and all, but not really the same experience and goes against my ITP snobbery. It’s a little too wholesome. They don’t encourage lashing together extra inner tubes holding beer coolers. Also, driving an hour and a half north means either driving an hour and a half south later, or staying overnight in the pseudo German-Disney town. And as much as I like the idea of stimulating the economy with tourism dollars, sometimes I just prefer sticking close to home.

Goals for hooching today: minimal exposure of skin to "water"

So this, coupled with the idea that is another entire post, a conversation that I held recently with a few members of Atlanta’s Consular Corps about our city’s sad lack of interest towards our river (I think it’s a matter of city origins, that our indifference stems from the fact that Atlanta was birthed out of an intersection of railroads, while most older European cities relied on waterways as a source of life and commerce), led me to look into organizations that are working to save the hooch.  There’s not that much out there, unfortunately, aside from Sweetwater Brewery and the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s alliance.

Does anyone out there know if this project is ongoing? Or if there is anything else happening to call attention to the river’s grossness, potential, or dangers?

3 Comments so far

  1. AtlantaR (unregistered) on March 28th, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    Up The River Outfitters. Right up 85, and a left on lawrenceville-suwanee for a few miles. Less poisonous than ITP, not nearly as far as helen, and they encourage you to have an extra tube for your beer. My advice: Use your life vests as rope to tie all your tubes around a central beer tube and have a floating drunken barge of awesomeness.


  2. abby on March 28th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    Cool, thanks for the recommendation!


  3. tomtiron (unregistered) on March 29th, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

    uh, it’s a national recreation area —- and the trust for public land has spent a lot in land acquisition, much of it added to the recreation area —- the chattahoochee national recreation area is one of the city’s most amazing resources, and way under-appreciated



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