To better inform the public, I would like to tell everyone about our tubing trip with Ellijay River Outfitters aka The Tubing Trip from Hell. First, let me start by saying that my husband and I have been going tubing every summer for about 5 years now. It's a great way to beat the summer heat in Georgia. We have gone down the Etowah, the Toccoa, the Chestatee, and the Chattahoochee.
Today, we started out late in the afternoon on our way to Helen and decided we were running too late so we would find a closer destination to take our children, ages 5 and 7, tubing. We were directed buy a man at a gas station to Ellijay River Outfitters. Upon arriving we were not that impressed with the facilities. They're floats and life vests appear to about 10 years old. The actual facility looked like an old country house in the middle of a field. The only people around to help us when we arrived were 3 teenagers. Trying to make the best of our afternoon, we shrugged this off and decided they were probably just a small company with a tight budget. We then gave a teenage boy $40($10/tube) to go tubing down the Cartecay River.
Starting out down the river was tough. The tubes we had were not blown up all the way and they caused us to get stuck in just about every shallow spot we came across. So, my husband stopped and got out and blew them back up. The section of the river we went down was very similar to a small creek that my husband and I go fishing on sometimes. It didn't look like a river at all. The water was also polluted with trash floating along the banks in various places all the way down. The water was also very warm for a river in Northern Georgia. We have, however, been going through a heatwave in this part of the country in the past week or two. Still, just before the take out we saw a 3 foot long water moccasin, in the water, hanging from a log, in the middle of the river. This of course scared my children and I very much. We were very thankful to see the take out just ahead.
When we got up to the road where the company was supposed to pick us up there was no one there. Keep in mind I said we have been going through a heat wave here. The temperatures here have gotten up to 106 degrees and have stayed over 100 degrees this week. We waited almost 40 minutes before I finally got my husband to flag someone down on the highway so that we could borrow their cellphone. We got the phone number from one of the tubes. After speaking with someone there it still took 25 more minutes for someone to get to us.
On the way back to our car, the bus driver told us she was very sorry but they hadn't even told her we were out there. They forgot about us! She said the owners of the company were very good people but they were out of town right now. We asked her if the people we gave our money to were there when we got back to the place we put in at, and she said no, but someone was there at their second location. We then drove to that location and asked the person there for asked for an at least partial refund and were told there was nothing they could do about it because the owner of the company had already been given our money and they didn't have it there. Funny how they got that money when they were out of town, isn't it? The person then offered us a free trip down the river.
I wouldn't go down that river again if it was the last river in the world! Let alone rely on those people to pick us up again! Their business practices are as disgusting as the polluted river they send their customers down.