Tuesday, November 14, 2006

White Springs, FL - Kayaking

So what if the nighttime temperatures dropped to 34 degrees! And so what if the Suwannee River is only inches deep! We are going kayaking!

The reality was that the low levels provided such an incredible perspective of the river that we absolutely loved it. And, being the wimps we are, we waited til 2:00 to go out so it was comfortable in the low 70's.

This area of Florida is known for its karst limestone formations - which surrounds our springs, our aquifer, and creates sinkholes. With the low water levels, the karst features were very apparent. And so fascinating with their sponge-like holes and channels.

We put in at the public boat ramp on Rte 41 - about one mile from Kelly's RV Park.
Here Andy is trying to find an access route past Little Shoals. After the first portage over the rocky ledge, Andy saw that two others would be required, so we decided to head west instead today. A fun little maze to paddle into though.
Limestone boulders lined the edges of the river. The white rocks provided a contrast to the golds, greens, and reds of the changing leaves.
Karst shelves jutted out from the river bank at various levels. You can see where tree trunks and roots grow through the holes and cracks of the limestone. So with the low waters both sides were visible - topside and bottomside.
We were able to make it downriver past two sets of small 'ripples', but there just wasn't enough water to dig your paddles into to get back up and over these shallow, rocky sections. We were very, very surprised when we began this first wet portage...the water was freezing, Colorado-like temperatures. I swear it was in the 50's. Our feet were frozen for the rest of the paddle.
Andy's first message in a bottle! How cool. During a second wet portage, he found this bottle caught up in a log jam. After reaching the boat ramp he popped it open and found a note. Someone in the Atlanta area code is searching for a soul mate. Since Andy wasn't eligible, we wrapped it back up and threw it back into the river to see what fate will bring her.
The note was dated 11/11/06 and was decorated with a Christmas theme. Tiny white beads made it look like a snow-globe, and tiny figures of Santa and Christmas presents were snug inside. Hopefully she'll get the Christmas present she's wishing for.



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