Just a short trip on the Santa Fe River this Wednesday. Partly to check out the water level for a large newbie trip in June and partly just to escape the heat and humidity now in north Florida. We left a car down at Rum Island county Park and put in at the US 27 boat ramp.
The water level right now is REALLY low although the shoals both above and below Poe Springs are runnable on river right if you pick your line carefully.
Tripping down the Santa Fe at low water
We swam at Poe Springs to cool off altho we had to walk in rather than paddle in due to exposed rocks. We had the park all to ourselves for the 1/2 hour we were there.
Looking upstream on the Poe Spring run from the Santa Fe
Looking downstream on the Poe Spring run from the top of the spring
We walked into Lily Springs, too, because the spring run was too shallow to get our paddles deep enough into the water to get up against the current. The springs are full of algae and it looks really empty without Naked Ed in residence.
Lily Springs sure looks abandoned without Naked Ed in residence.
Lily Springs filled with algae. Water level at the top is just barely covering the first spring vent.
Jonathan Spring was flowing and pretty, although the rocks at the entrance were all exposed and had been moved apart to allow the run to flow through them. Rum Island Spring was low, but is still a great swimming hole.
One of the YakPak was downsizing her fleet and gave me a Dimension Jolt kayak to give away to someone who needed it. I cleaned it up a little and posted a “free to good home” notice to my paddling regulars. The first response was from a nice gal in south Georgia who was looking for something easier to load and paddle than her barge-like Hobie sit-on-top. We met up near High Spings, FL on the Santa Fe River so she could take it for a spin.
While chilly and foggy early on it turned into a gorgeous Florida winter day. We put in at the High Springs Ramp of US 41/441, paddled up to the River Rise and floated back down to our start point. It’s was only a little 5.6 mile paddle, but we saw a few birds, some lovely river homes, were serenaded by a canoeing fiddle player, and the used kayak has found a new home with a paddler who will appreciate it.
Paddling up the Santa Fe
Anhinga and Cooter sunning on a fallen tree
River Rise – where the Santa Fe returns from below ground for the remainder of it’s journey to the Suwannee
Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) sunning on a log
Canoeing fiddler playing on the bank
A nice little Wednesday morning paddle on the Santa Fe River near High Springs, FL. Since in the past few months we have done US 27 to Rum Island several times, today we started at Rum Island County Park and paddled down to Santa Fe River Park at SR 47.
The Santa Fe River was up 1-2 feet after all the recent rain and the water was quick, tannin-stained, and full of suspended particles. The dark water pushed its way in to cover all except the strongest springs so we missed seeing many of our small favorites, but Gilchrist Blue Spring, Ginnie Spring and Dogwood Spring were beautiful. And with hardly anyone else on the river or playing in the springs (we saw 5 other kayaks, 2 tubers and 2 snorkelers the whole trip) it was a good day for a few underwater pics.
Santa Fe River just outside of Ginnie Springs, under Water Oaks and blue skies.
Santa Fe River reflections.
Gilchrist Blue Springs run.
A turtle swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs run – about a foot underwater
Underwater shot at Ginnie Springs. I loved the play of light on the sand bottom of the spring vent.
Another underwater shot at Ginnie Springs, again with light patterns on the bottom.
Dogwood Spring, just downstream from Ginnie Springs
Blue Fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis). They were really swarming this morning and loved our red kayak.