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Below Cheshire Bridge Road 

"Below Cheshire Bridge Road, development again falls off. The creek meanders between rocky hills through the backyards of an industrial neighborhood. The going is slow, and it is deathly quiet. The subfreezing temperatures and Christmas preparations have driven Atlanta into hibernation.

"The massive structure of the I-85 bridge looms just ahead. I try to snap a photo, but my camera's battery is too cold to drive its electronic shutter. Below the bridge, the creek drops about six feet in elevation. The channel, lined with riprap made from eight-inch-square granite blocks, is a rather canoe-unfriendly chute. I manage to negotiate the channel, hanging occasionally on the blocks' sharp edges in the now-low water.

"The day's goal is now in sight. The Piedmont Road bridge is directly ahead, perhaps a quarter mile away. I portage one last obstacle, a temporary construction road built to support the widening of the freeways. An early Indian village site stood above this confluence, confirmed by six years of research culminating in the 1927 map generated by archaeologists John A. Hynds and R.C. Darby. It is hard to imagine what this piece of property must have looked like when the Indians occupied the region, long before the era of the interstate.

"The water is deep enough to sustain an easy paddle down to the bridge. Tired and cold, yet satisfied, I take out on river right, drag the boat to a billboard high on the steep bank, and chain it to the base. The probability of someone stealing it in this weather (or any other for that matter) is slim, but the thought of chasing the boat on a downstream ghost ride is rather unappealing. The underside of the bridge shows the usual signs of habitation: empty food containers, cardboard boxes, and furniture blankets appropriated from the adjacent Ryder truck rental facility. I grab some gear and head for Piedmont. Now to hit the pay phone at Tower Liquor to get a ride back to the car. As I hike across the bridge, pedestrians cross to the other side to avoid contact with me. What, you've never seen a guy in a rubber suit before? Even the jaded in-town liquor store customers give me wide berth. Maybe it's the smell.

"A warm house, a cold beer, and the satisfaction of having completed one leg of my journey make for a very merry Christmas."

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Peachtree Creek Main

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