Monthly Archives: April 2016

Suwannee Quest 4 – April 23-24, 2016

Stage 4 of the Suwannee Quest – the YakPak’s attempt to lead the Sandhill Chapter of the Florida Trail Association in paddling all 206 miles of the Suwannee River in Florida – one piece at a time.  This time an overnight camping trip.

We put in at US 41 in White Springs and took out at Spirit of the Suwannee campground, spending the night at Woods Ferry River Camp.  We used American Canoe Adventures for our shuttle since you can’t leave cars overnight at Suwannee Wayside and they did their usual great job.  Check them out at www.ACA1.com

For most of the people on the trip it was their first overnight in their kayaks and we had a great time while learning a lot of new skills.  The River Camps on the Suwannee are for the exclusive use of people who either boat or hike in and if you are a backpacker the accommodations are luxurious — potable water, flush toilets, hot showers, covered cooking pavilion with picnic tables, and little screened platforms for sleeping away from the bugs.  Also lots of tent space if you prefer.

The weather was perfect – no rain, warm weather and a nice breeze.  The water level by the White Springs gauge was 56.98 – medium normal.  The views along the river were stunning – porous limestone rock formations, spring wildflowers, and white sandy banks for rest breaks interspersed by some very interesting private homes.  Another weekend in paradise!  

The old White Sulphur Spring springhouse at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

The old White Sulphur Spring springhouse at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs.

Beautiful limestone bluffs and cypress tress along the Suwannee River.

The pitted limestone bluffs are getting higher as we travel downstream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sleeping platforms sleep 6-8 people, are screen to get out the bugs and have a ceiling fan/electric light. The Ritz if you are a backpacker.

The sleeping platforms sleep 6-8 people, are screen to get out the bugs and have a ceiling fan/electric light. The Ritz if you are a backpacker.

Getting ready for breakfast in the cooking pavilion at the Woods Ferry River Camp.

Getting ready for breakfast in the cooking pavilion at the Woods Ferry River Camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrub Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium xerophyllum) found along the river bank near Suwannee Springs.

Scrub Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium xerophyllum) found along the river bank near Suwannee Springs.

Male Eastern Fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus). The males have the blue belly patches with rusty bars, the females are darker with brown/black bars

Male Eastern Fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus). The males have the blue belly patches with rusty bars, the females are darker with brown/black bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of little limestone ledges along the river, caves created by wave action.

Lots of little limestone ledges along the river, caves created by wave action.

Beautiful limestone bluffs and cypress tress along the Suwannee River.

Beautiful limestone bluffs and cypress tress along the Suwannee River.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Withlacoochee River – April 16, 2016

A second 10-mile paddle on the Withlacoochee (South) River.   2/3 of the people who signed up for the trip from Camp Izzard boat ramp near SR 200 to the Centennial Park boat ramp in Dunnellon cancelled due to a forecast of rain, but the 9 of us who paddled didn’t feel a drop.  (Maybe because we all brought along our rain jackets?)

While we started out under cloudy skies, by the afternoon the sun was shining and the skies were blue.  Fairly typical of Florida’s weather.  Under the same bright green spring foliage, we saw more birds but fewer gators and turtles than on the same trip earlier in the week.  Tricolored Herons, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Swallowtail Kites, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, and Cormorants, to name a few.

An early morning pic under gray skies but with bright green spring foliage.

An early morning pic under gray skies but with bright green spring foliage.

In the afternoon we had beautiful blue skies and sunshine on the WIthlacoochee.

In the afternoon we had beautiful blue skies and sunshine on the WIthlacoochee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) stalking in the water weeds.

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) stalking in the water weeds.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) looking for supper along the sea wall.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) looking for supper along the sea wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens L.) found at our break spot.

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens L.) found at our lunch spot.

A "hitch-hiker" I found on my kayak.

A “hitch-hiker” I found on my kayak.

Withlacoochee River – April 13, 2016

Nice little trip along the Withlacoochee (South) River from Camp Izzard boat ramp on Riverside Drive near FL 200 to Centennial Park boat ramp in the city of Dunnellon — a little over 10 paddling miles .  Cloudy skies for most of the day, but no rain until on the way home.  The spring greenery was breathtaking and damselflies decorated our boats the whole way.

Withlacoochee River near State Rd 200

Withlacoochee River near State Rd 200

Reflections of spring greenery on the water.

Reflections of spring greenery on the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis) attracted to my red boat.

Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis) attracted to my red boat.

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens L.) found at our break spot.

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens L.) found at our lunch break spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIthlacoochee State Trail bridge - paved bicycle trail that crosses the river near Dunnellon.

Withlacoochee State Trail bridge – paved bicycle trail that crosses the river near Dunnellon.

More spring reflections on the Withlacoochee.

More spring reflections on the Withlacoochee.