Saturday, October 15, 2005

Withlacoochee River

Back to the Withlacoochee River, launching again from Suwannee River State Park, this time with The Husband.

Plan A was to put in at a boat ramp we had launched from a couple of years ago. We had not made any note at that time of the directions to that boat ramp and only remembered that it was off Hwy 6 and somewhat remote. When we failed to recognize any turnoffs, we decided to stop at Madison Blue Springs State Park to see if the ranger there could give us directions (this is where we got directions to it the first time). There was a note on the door to the ranger station informing us that the ranger was out to lunch. So we gave up on that plan, but decided to look around before defaulting to Suwannee River State Park.

There were a lot of divers there, this is a popular spot for scuba fans. The spring is really something to see. The park is useless as a launch area unless you have a lightweight and indestructable boat, since the path from the parking lot to the water is very long with many steps. But it's still an interesting spot. I took this view of where the spring water joins the Withlacoochee River:

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Here's a shot of the spring itself--the water is a gorgeous blue color (as they usually are...)--

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We had a picnic lunch at this park and then progressed to the SRSP to do some paddling.

This trip was similar to the one I took a couple of weeks ago and covered the same ground.

Shortly before reaching the shoals that were the turnaround point last time as well as on today's trip, we came to an old bridge structure--all that remained were the very tall concrete supports on each side of the river. With a little addition on top that someone had added. Here's the long view of the bridge support--

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You may notice what appears to be a figure perched on top. Zooming in with the camera reveals what that is:

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Love the bottle next to him--nice addition!

The drift downstream was peaceful and relaxing. Great reflections of the rocks.

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The weather has finally cooled off and the sun was low in the sky. One of the best times to be on the water. My only regret about today was that we managed to spend three hours on this river totally surrounded by no deer to photograph.

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While we were paddling upstream we passed a group of people floating downstream--there were several canoes and kayaks. When we got back to the boat ramp at the park, some of those people were still there loading their boats, and we chatted for awhile. They were part of the River Rats group from Gainesville and seemed like a great bunch of paddlers. They have a website, drop in on them!

I'm hoping to get in another overnight paddling trip this coming week--with the tent, weather permitting!--stand by to see if that works out.

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