Ocklawaha River and Bear Creek – February 17, 2016

The weather has finally warmed up enough that we can shed our fleece jackets on our river trips.  Before you know it we will be swimming again!

A great paddle on the Ocklawaha River south of Palatka.  One of our favorite trips because of the wildlife and easy to since there is no shuttle required.  Park at Johnson Field Landing on SR 19, paddle down the Ocklawaha to the St Johns, head south to the first creek on your right, then paddle upstream on Bear Creek back to the landing.  The total is about 10 miles and since Bear Creek has little current, it’s a pretty east 10 miles unless you get blocked by rafts of vegetation.  That’s one of the reasons we like to make this a late winter/early spring trip.

Late winter foliage combined with new spring growth made the banks very colorful in spots. Winter-bare trees displayed a myriad of bromiliads. A few Swamp Lilies showed their faces and we found one little gator sleeping in the weak morning sun.  Also caught an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

Colorful winter/spring foliage on the Ocklawaha River

Colorful winter/spring foliage on the Ocklawaha River

A little gator (about 4-foot) sunning on an old cypress stump.

A little gator (about 4-foot) sunning on an old cypress stump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bare winter trees on the Ocklawaha.

Bare winter trees on the Ocklawaha nearing the St Johns.

Bromiliads - Broad Needleleaf (Tillandsia simulata) on the Ocklawaha RIver

Bromiliads – Broad Needleleaf (Tillandsia simulata) on the Ocklawaha River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful scenery along Bear Creek.

Beautiful scenery along Bear Creek.

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) on Bear Creek

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) on Bear Creek