Adventure Down the Suwannee with a Paddle Florida Paddler

 

Florida – October 7, 2010 – Paddle Florida kicks off the fall padding season on the Suwannee River. Join us October 14th to the 21st, 2010 for Paddle Florida Lite, a chance to do a portion of the week-long adventure. For more information on the route, daily lunch and camping stops, meals, and prices, please visit www.paddleflorida.org or E-mail bill@paddleflorida.org.

 

All kinds of memories are born out of trips along the river with Paddle Florida. Past participants rave about their experiences and memories collected along the river.

 

 “It’s the people that really define the Paddle Florida experience,” said Jill Lingard. “Living in Florida, we can paddle any number of rivers any time we like. But when I think back about our week on the Suwannee with Paddle Florida, I remember a couple dancing by the campfire, a paddler fashioning a sail out of an umbrella, a fool trying to tow an abandoned motorboat with his kayak, a poet reading her verse standing next to an artist painting the scene around us, and a singer leading us in the ‘chicken song.’ There’s something about sharing the beauty of nature with others that makes the experience even more memorable.”

 

Paddle Florida ‘s first and only “Miss Congeniality” award went to Guerry Bradley. EMT through and through, Bradley tells the tale of how he became so well known on Paddle Florida excursions.

Well, I was relaxing by the water, when this little distressed noise caught my attention, when I look over and see a small baby beaver bobbing in the water. So I went over and picked him up. He was so tiny that he fit right into the palm of my hand. I put him in my hat and carried him back to the campsite, asking everyone I saw for help, even getting Bill Richards to call people asking them to come out and help the little creature. But it was Easter Sunday, so no one came out.  But this woman finally comes up to me, saying, ‘Why don’t you put that baby beaver back in the water?”

Sitting around the campfire at night, telling jokes and judging whose the best was,” Bradley said as he shared what he loved most about his trips with Paddle Florida.

 

Paddle Florida Expands its Schedule Across the State:

Since its inception three years ago, Paddle Florida has grown from having two events in a year to six. Paddle Florida couldn’t be held and therefore grown without the cooperation and help of the Department of Environmental Protection through the Florida Park Service and the Office of Greenways and Trails. Throughout the seasons, Florida’s many diverse waterways offer a variety of paddling, camping and hiking experiences, from the northern woods to the southern Keys. Choose a Paddle Florida adventure that fits your schedule and passion. Fees for all trips include camping fees, a t-shirt, a boat decal, maps, entertainment and/or activities each evening, water descriptions and full vehicle support for all gear (no wet tents!).

 

New – The River Ramble on Wekiva and St. Johns Rivers: December 27 – 30, 2010

Paddlers journey 36-miles on this holiday treat down the Wekiva and St Johns rivers and camp in a wide open meadow lined with oaks, a popular spot for the area’s wild turkeys.

 

This stretch of the Wekiva, one of the most pristine and untouched we’ve paddled, is designated a “Wild and Scenic” river and is a main tributary of the St. Johns. After approximately 6 miles, the Wekiva joins the St. Johns for the rest of journey.

The mid-day rest stop is at the lively, local Highbanks Marina with the finish at Blue Springs State Park for dinner, overnight camping and a program. The park is a designated manatee refuge and winter home to a growing number of these docile, slow-moving creatures. As this is prime season for manatees in the spring run, paddlers should be able to have an up close look.

 

The cost is $175 per person and $75 for meals.

 

New – Peace, Love, Paddle on the Peace River January 14 – 17, 2011

A three-day paddle along 42 miles of the Peace River Canoe Trail, part of Florida’s statewide trail system managed by the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection Office of Greenways and Trails. The Peace River is a serene, slow-moving river amazingly isolated from civilization. The stresses of everyday life will slip away as you coast between high banks and round sweeping curves amongst tiny islands, looking for that chance encounter with deer, otter, alligators, an occasional black bear and an abundance of bird life.

 

Paddle Florida on the Peace River is held in cooperation with Polk County, the City of Ft. Meade and Hardee County.

Join us for three days of camaraderie and the thrill of paddling another Florida gem. The cost is $175 per person and $75 for meals.

 

New – The Florida Keys Challenge: February 18 – 21, 2011

Paddle Florida Explores the Waters Surrounding the Florida Keys

Explore the shallow waters surrounding the Florida Keys and enjoy the visual splendor of the water, which is five shades of blue and green. The thrill of paddling the Keys is enhanced by the unique and plentiful wildlife and marine life.

 

This adventure will start in Marathon at Curry Hammock State Park with overnight camping just steps from the Atlantic. The following day paddlers travel 11 miles down to Knight’s Key Campground. The third day paddlers move nine miles to the final site, Bahia Honda State Park.

 

The last day paddlers may enjoy outstanding recreational opportunities by self-exploring the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico – paddling swimming, fishing or a snorkeling trip from Bahia Honda to Looe Key Reef.

 

Bahia Honda State Park is located only 35 miles from Key West, in case longer Keys visits are appealing to paddlers. 

 

The adventure cost is $200 with a trip capacity of 100 paddlers. There is an optional and highly recommended meal plan for an additional $100.

 

While the rest of the country will still be experiencing a cold winter, head down to the Florida Keys for a warm weekend with Paddle Florida!

 

New – Dam to the Bay Paddle Florida, Ochlockonee River, Natural North Florida:

March 12 – 18, 2011

Experience paddling the Ochlockonee River and primitive north Florida for six days on part of Florida’s statewide trail system managed by the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection Office of Greenways and Trails. The Ochlockonee adventure begins at Ed and Bernice’s Fish Camp with overnights at Pine Creek Landing, Whitehead Lake, Mack Landing, Womack Creek and Ochlockonee River State Park. Trail’s end is at Bald Point State Park, 76 miles down the river.

 

This trip accommodates up to 100 paddlers. The cost is $275 for adults, $250 for seniors and college students, $225 for youth (8 to 17 years old) and children 7 and under are free. Meals are $125 per person. The Paddle Florida Lite option is available for four days or less at $60 a day and meals at $30 a day.

 

Fourth Annual Spring Paddle Florida on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail:

March 26 – April 2, 2011 

Explore the Withlacoochee River to the Suwannee, 115 miles of scenic river trail winding through Madison, Hamilton and Suwannee counties. Paddlers camp overnight at Suwannee River State Park, one of Florida’s most visited parks; it sits at the confluence of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers.

 

Paddle Florida offers unique ways to see, experience and create “real” Florida memories. Bring your camera to capture the springs visible at the bottom of the limestone cliffs, Pott Springs, one of the prettiest spots in the Suwannee River Valley, as well as a wide variety of wildlife native to the region. 

 

The spring paddle cost is $300 for adults, $275 for college students and seniors, $250 for youth (ages 8 – 17) and children under 7 are free. There is an optional and highly recommended meal plan for an additional $150. And Paddle Florida Lite offers the option of four days or less: at $60 a day and meals for $30 a day.

 

Contact:
Bill Richards
bill@paddleflorida.org
PO Box 5953
Gainesville, FL 32627
Ph: (352)377-8342
www.paddleflorida.org