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[ft-l] Oklawaha Canoe Trip

Just back from a lovely weekend canoe trip on the Oklawaha River in central
Florida.  There were 11 of us, all FTA members from the Halifax-St Johns
chapter, 5 canoes and 1 kayak.  We put in at the boat ramp at SR 40 and took
out at CR 316 near Eureka, spending Saturday night at the county park at
Gores Landing.  The river was really low, and because so many feeder streams
were not running, the Oklawaha was as clear as I have seen it in years.  We
paddled up the Silver River for about a mile and two brave souls even took
an early morning dip at a sandy spot. It was still too cold for the rest of
us.  But there were more opportunities for swimming on Saturday as we headed
down the Oklawaha proper, lots of exposed sandy beaches to take out for
little breaks.  There were only a few fishing boats out, so most of Saturday
we had the river to ourselves.

The leaves are starting to change, lots of sweetgum blazing red-orange and
oaks turning brown with the gray-green cypress for backdrop.  The low river
made for some ghostly cypress knee figures along the banks, like something
out of a Grimm fairy tale.  We enjoyed searching out the more gnarled groups
and finding faces and animal shapes in their twisted roots.  We saw the
usual water birds - great blue herons, white herons, osprey, limpkins,
egrets.  We also saw one white pelican and several kingfishers darting
across the river in front of us, scolding us for interrupting their fishing.
We passed an otter eating a fish.  It was a pretty big fish for the otter's
mouth and it was comical watching him trying to gulp it down and get back in
the water before we approached too closely.

If you want to canoe and camp along the Oklawaha, now is a good time to do
it while the water is low.  There are lots of dry campsites along the river.


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