Monthly Archives: July 2016

Suwannee Quest 7 – July 23, 2016

Stage 7 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 trip took us from Hirsh Landing to Eula Landing and we had a great time beating the heat in the springs.  We visited a no-name spring, Pot Hole Spring, had lunch at Rock Bluff Spring, stopped for a break along the river at a rope swing and took a final swim at Rock Sink.  We did 14 miles in 7 hours, so you know we spent almost as much time playing as paddling!  The water level by the White Springs gauge was 50.01 – medium low.

Didn’t see much wildlife except for a few Cormorants, Anhingas, Ibis, and very briefly 3 Swallow-tail Kites.  We did see lots of jumping sturgeon and beered-up motor boaters, all of which we managed to avoid.

All our "little duckies" in a row as we set out from Hirsh Landing.

All our “little duckies” in a row as we set out from Hirsh Landing.

Colorful kayaks on the Suwannee.

Colorful kayaks on the Suwannee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrance to Pot Hole Spring near Hirsh Landing.

Entrance to Pot Hole Spring near Hirsh Landing.

Cooling off at Pot Hole Spring.

Cooling off at Pot Hole Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underwater shot at Rock Bluff spring.

Underwater shot at Rock Bluff spring.

Magnificent old cypress tree in Rock Bluff Spring near Little Lake City, FL. By 1 pm it was wall-to-wall motor boats, so we continued on down the river.

Magnificent old cypress tree in Rock Bluff Spring near Little Lake City, FL. By 1 pm it was wall-to-wall motor boats, so we continued on down the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just had to try out the rope swing!

Just had to try out the rope swing!

A last cool-down break at Rock Sink near Eula Landing

A last cool-down break at Rock Sink near Eula Landing.

Rainbow River – July 16, 2016

Another paddle today on the Rainbow River, this time leading a trip for the Florida Trail Association.  In spite of the summer weekend crowds there was an amazing amount of wildlife on the river.  Saw a couple of river otters, which is always a treat, as well as a lot of birds, including the very vocal but very shy Common Gallinule with a couple of babies.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) taking a snooze

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) taking a snooze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) with one of her two fluffy babies.

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) with one of her two fluffy babies.

One of two North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis). The two adults were swimming and fishing together.

One of two North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis). The two adults were swimming and fishing together.

Rainbow River – July 13, 2016

Wow! Two birthday paddles in one week! My kayak group surprised me with birthday cupcakes on our paddle Wednesday on the Rainbow River near Dunnellon, FL.

Beautiful day for a paddle with blue skies, fluffy white clouds, high temps and a cooling river for a little snorkeling and swimming.  We saw Ibis, Cormorants, Anhinga, Little Blue Herons, Great White Herons, female Wood Ducks, Green Herons, Swallow-tailed Kites, plus lots of Cooters basking in the sun. In the river we saw some gar, carp, loads of sunfish and a few good sized bass.  Also both Scarlet and Swamp Pink Hibiscus were in bloom up near the head spring.  Just another day indulging ourselves in paradise.

Birthday cupcakes!

Birthday cupcakes!

Enjoying the cupcakes.

Enjoying the cupcakes.  The white stuff on my face is sun screen, not icing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snorkeling on the Rainbow River between the state park and KP Hole.

Snorkeling on the Rainbow River between the state park and KP Hole.

Looking downstream from the head spring.

Looking downstream from the head spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa). She had one 1/2 grown baby with her, but she shooed it into the weeds when I got close enough for a picture.

Female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa). She had one 1/2 grown baby with her, but she shooed it into the weeds when I got close enough for a picture.

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underwater shot of one of the little spring vents along the river.

Underwater shot of one of the little spring vents along the river.

Gar near a spring. These are probably Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) or maybe Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), I can't tell the difference between them.

Gar near a spring. These are probably Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) or maybe Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), I can’t tell the difference between them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swamp Pink Hibiscus (Hibiscus grandiflorus)

Swamp Pink Hibiscus (Hibiscus grandiflorus)

Scarlet Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)

Scarlet Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)