Friday, June 8, 2007
Our first day will be spent exploring the swamp as we make our way southwest to the headwaters of the Suwannee River. Blooming Tupelos , twisted cypress, peeling river birch, and stoic Live oaks draped with Spanish moss shade our path as we twist and turn our way downstream.
Enjoying our return to Florida, we will start to encounter limestone outcrops and higher defined riverbanks. White sand beaches are found at almost every large bend in the river. Early mornings are spent watching huge woodpeckers, swallow tailed kites, and soaring buzzards.
Nice wilderness stretch of river in the morning. Frequent coyote sightings in this area. Just prior to lunch the group will get to experience some faster water at a small set of shoals. Higher banks begin to form, reminents of the ancient coral reef that once stood here. Fossilized sea fans, brain coral, and sea bisquits are evident near every cliff.
Long paddle today and if history repeats itself, expect a strong head wind. The pay off is Florida’s only stretch of whitewater, The Big Shoals. Nice big bouncy class 3 rapids. We will of course portage around them. Since camp is at the shoals everyone will get a chance to swim and possibly shoot the rapids.
After the portage we will get a few small shoals to shoot as we make our way into the Historic town of White Springs. Lunch will be Riverside at the Teleford Hotel. With stuffed guts everyone will drift a mile down to the Stephen Foster Cultural Center to get a chance to walk it off. This is one of Florida’s finest state parks. It also has the best gift shop filled with locally made folk art and food.
Nice easy day with lots of drifting, swimming, day hikes, and a good rope swing or two. Lots of chances to stop and go exploring on the Florida Trail, birding in the high scrub, or look for swamp creatures in the sloughs.
We will return to Spirit of the Suwannee.
Accommodations and Food: The leaders will prepare and serve all meals. Meals included in the trip fee begin with lunch on the first day and lunch on the last day. Meals served on the trip will honor and reflect local cuisine. A typical dinner would consist of shrimp and crawfish Creole, white rice, garlic bread, fresh salad, and something chocolate for dessert.
Accommodations are backcountry and primitive.
References: A Naturalist in Florida, by Archie Carr
From the Swamp To the Keys, by Johnny Molloy
Canoeing and camping the 213 miles of the beautiful Suwannee river, by Bill Logan
On wilderness tours please consider not bringing cell phones,watches, personal radios, lap tops, and all other battery operated gizmos (except cameras). It really takes away from the wilderness experience to hear electronic beeps. In addition, most folks came on this trip to avoid cell phones and the like. Trust me, you can go a week.
Small day pack or fanny pack
First Aid kit
Personal medical supplies (Prescriptions, inhaler, antibiotics, etc.)
Flashlight or head lamp
Prescription Glasses/Contact lenses and supplies
Spare tent stakes
Sleeping Bag (Temperature appropriate)
Camp pillow or stuff bag to fill with clothing to serve as pillow
Waterproof stuff bag for sleeping bag
Waterproof stuff sacks (For clothing and other gear)
Equipment repair supplies
Leatherman™ or Multi™ tool
Knife, fork, spoon
Knife (Swiss Army™ or good a folding model)
Feminine hygiene products
Pack towel/wash rag
Water shoes or sandals
Mosquito head net
Raingear - waterproof/breathable jacket
Fleece or wool shirt or sweater
Light weight camping pants
Long Sleeve shirt - light weight (Great for sun protection)
Gloves (For paddling and warmth)
Optional Stuff (but nice)
Journal and pen
Camera and film
Waterproof Camera Bag