After nearly a week of snow, sleet, and generally ugly stuff in Atlanta, 45 GCA members and paddler friends spent a beautiful weekend kayaking/canoeing on the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe rivers near Gainesville, FL. Good weather had been ordered well in advance, but bright sun, a cloudless sky,and 60 to 70 degrees was beyond our wildest expectations.

The Ichetucknee lived up to its world-class reputation, flowing crystal clear and revealing deep blue and green holes where the springs bubble up. A white egret held a graceful pose for ages as canoe after canoe passed, providing a plentitude of Kodak Moments.

We were off the water in plenty of time for hikes, bike rides, and naps before dinner. Over half of our group tried the cuisine at the Great Outdoor Company Cafe, most returning to O’Leno State Park to sit around a variety of campfires before crawling into our sleeping bags.

On Sunday we paddled on the Santa Fe, and while I was disappointed that the springs were not more spectacular (infusion of river water had turned them tea colored), nobody else seemed to care! The paddling pace was slow and easy with a side visit to Lilly Springs where Ed was observed to be wearing his winter costume. After a long lunch and, for some a short swim, at Poe Springs (Naps Were Taken), we tookout at Rum Island Springs. Paddlers reported seeing lots of birds,bales of turtles, a river otter, several deer, and “a bovine animal”. On Monday morning the remainder of the group hiked the Sink Trail at the State Park, paddled up to River Rise on the Santa Fe, or just hung out before heading home.

This was absolutely the most cooperative and agreeable large group that I have ever led on an outing! Everybody was considerate, pleasant, andhad a flexible attitude. Special thanks go to my co-coordinator,Sheila Small, to Bill Evans and John Carter for running shuttle, and to Tom Rish for providing his truck for our “Meals on Wheels” atthe lunch stop on Saturday. Thanks also to a Tom Clark and the Apalachee Canoe Club for changing their meeting times and put-ins so that we could have more parking space!

This great group of people included; Gabriella Schlidt & Allen Hedden,John Carter & Anne Oxendine, Margaret, Dan, Jocelyn & Chloe Watkins and their friend Shavon Christensen, Morris Friedman &O.C. Hill, Ken & Jean Wood, Dick & Barbara Gearhart, Brian &Chris Wilson, Amy Delaplaine & Leah Trifanoff, Dave & Linda Chaney, Dave, Megan, & Kelli Harrington, Mike Higgins &Evelyn Hopkins, David & Kathy Bradley, Louie & Beverly Reynolds, Bill & Mary Evans, Lynn Rzaitis & Richard Down,Elaine Seyman & Bonnie Mays, Wayne & Janet Guerke, Tom Rish,Terry Neely, Mike Kaplan, Richard Sturtevant, Sheila Small, and ButchHorn.

Forthose of you who asked for information about the Apalachee Canoe andKayak Club, their address is:  

P.O.Box 4027

Tallahassee,FL 32315.

by Liz Carter
Trip Dates: January 13 & 14, 1996
From The Eddy Line, April 1996