Suwannee Quest 6 – June 25, 2016

Stage 6 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.

Hot, long, but nice paddle on the Suwannee.  Had to stop every hour or so for a swim break to cool off.  Such a hardship! 🙂  The water level by the White Springs gauge was 50.27 – medium low.  

Since it’s too hot to camp during the summer we skipped down past all the River Camps for the summer months.  We paddled the 16-mile section from Branford down to Hirsh Landing – very different from the upper Suwannee of our previous trips this spring.  Lower banks, more sand than limestone, lots of oaks and black willows mixed with the cypress, more private homes and on the weekends lots of big motor boats and jet skis going fast.

A few polite boaters (mostly fishermen) slowed down for us, most of the “weekend harrys” did not. The jet skiers in particular seemed to like to stop and plow doughnuts directly opposite us.  But we got to practice paddling the swells which we will need when we get close to the Gulf.

Riding the swells near our end point at Hirsh Landing. Lots of Black Willow trees (Salix nigra) along this stretch of the river.

Riding the swells near our end point at Hirsh Landing.  Lots of Black Willow trees (Salix nigra) along this stretch of the river.

Massive root system on a cypress tree.

Massive root system due to variable water level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-shoulder Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red-shoulder Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) in breeding plumage

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) in breeding plumage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim break in boat wake on a sandy beach

Swim break in boat wake on a sandy beach

Another swim break at Turtle Spring. The water in this pic looks milky because it's been churned up from lots of folks swimming - usually it is crystal clear.

Another swim break at Turtle Spring. The water in this pic looks milky because it’s been churned up from lots of folks swimming – usually it is crystal clear.