Once again GCA will be venturing south for the MLK holiday weekend to paddle some of Florida’s beautiful springs and rivers. We will be setting up our base camp near the Chassahowitzka River Campground and doing day trips from there. We will be driving down on Thursday, January 14, 2021 and paddling the next four days (Friday, January 15, 2020 – Monday, January 18, 2020). Potential paddling locations include (but are not limited to): Withlacoochee River, Chassahowitzka River, Ichetucknee Springs, Crystal River, Weeki Wachee, Rainbow River, Silver River, Juniper Springs, Braden River, Hillsborough River, etc.
For several years now we have camped at the Chassahowitzka River Campground and met each morning in their main parking lot to get organized for the day’s adventure. We will still meet in their parking lot each morning to group up and you are still welcome to camp there. If you choose to camp you are responsible for making your own reservations. Their contact information and campground details can be found at http://www.chassahowitzkaflorida.com/.
ADDITIONAL LODGING OPTION:
As you know, it can be quite cold in Florida in January. In the past we have stayed at a campground but, after the weather the last few years, I have decided that I am tired of being cold at night. Therefore, I have reserved the Chassahowitzka Hotel again for this year! The Chassahowitzka Hotel is located about one mile from the Chassahowitzka River Campground where we have camped in the past. The Chassahowitzka Hotel is different from a lot of hotels because it is really a large house which has been converted to a hotel. They rent out rooms in the house but both levels have a common area where people can gather and visit. They have porches where people can also visit if the weather is nice. There are two bathrooms upstairs – one is designated for men and the other for women. There is also a very large dining room table near the kitchen. We are not allowed to use the kitchen to cook (we can use the microwave to heat things up), but they have someone who comes in each morning to fix a continental breakfast (included in the cost of the room). We usually eat lunch on the river and dinner out at a restaurant so this works well. We will still meet at the campground parking lot in the morning to get organized for the daily trips. The people who stayed in the hotel last year were pleased with the arrangements. Not only were we dry (with heat and indoor plumbing) we had more opportunity to visit with other participants and get to know each other better. This was a very nice benefit on top of being warm and dry. Additionally, the facility was very clean and the staff was extremely helpful.
The hotel can sleep up to 18 people if a few people are willing to share a bed. Last year we did have people share beds to cut down on the cost. This year, with the current COVID-19 situation, I am thinking that we might only have couples share a bed. This means that the price for the five nights might be slightly higher but not by much (probably no more than $30 difference). If we reserve the entire facility for five nights (Thursday night through Monday night) the cost per person should be about $237 for 18 people and $267 for 16 people total. As of right now, I have reserved the entire facility. However, if there is not enough interest in staying at the hotel then I will reserve a room for me and tell them that they can make the rest of the facility available to others to rent.
If you are interested in staying in the hotel, please let me know as soon as you can. If there is enough interest I will keep the facility on reserve for our use in January. If we decide to do this, I will need to collect money from you in advance – I expect that I will need the money by the end of November. Last year I was able to accept checks or PayPal and it seemed to work well.
You can use the links below to get more information and to see some pictures of the facility.
The first 16 people who say they want to stay at the hotel will get those spaces. If more than 16 people respond affirmatively I will start a waiting list.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This is an official GCA trip. You will be expected to wear your PFD, not just have it in your boat. Also, this trip is for GCA members – not the general public. Please do not post this trip on other websites.
Please contact me, Lisa Haskell, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (678) 858-2012 to register for this trip. Using the RSVP button on the website does not mean that you are signed up for the trip.
I hope to see you in Florida!
Statement regarding Covid-19:
During these uncertain times, the GCA is working to balance the organization’s mission to provide training and group paddling opportunities with the risk posed by Covid-19. The coronavirus threat and the ultimate impact on society and the sporting community is still unknown at this time. The situation is fluid with new information being released almost hourly regarding the progression of the COVID-19 outbreak and the recommended guidance for group activities from Federal, state, and local authorities.
GCA is scheduling its normal events, including the Fall Gala, Membership Paddle, and Christmas Party, but may cancel or postpone upcoming events as needed in accordance with the latest official guidelines and local or state restrictions. Even if conditions permit GCA to proceed with an event as scheduled, there is no possible way to eliminate all risk associated with Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. Covid-19 is a special concern due to the potential for disease transmission by people infected by the virus who are not exhibiting any symptoms of the disease. No amount of screening can completely eliminate this risk.
Each member or participant must take personal responsibility to assess his/her risk based on medical history, age, or other relevant factors. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Individuals who fall into these categories are encouraged to avoid any GCA activities that will involve larger groups or to avoid GCA activities entirely until there is a vaccine or other effective protection against virus transmission.
GCA expects that all persons who attend any event will follow all applicable laws regarding social distancing, masks, and travel. Prior to attending any event, each person should review state and local guidance related to Covid-19 for the area in which the event is being held. Any person who has recently exhibited symptoms of Covid-19 or come in contact with anyone who tested positive for Covid-19 should not participate in any GCA event. Individuals who participate in any event will be expected to follow hygiene and social distancing guidelines, including regular hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer, use of masks when on land (i.e. before and after paddling), allowing distance with other paddlers during put in and take out and while maneuvering on the river, and coordinating shuttles so as to minimize the number of individuals in a single vehicle. Participants should not share equipment. Finally, GCA asks that you avoid any river or activity that is above your existing skill level, so as to minimize the need for hands-on river rescues.