Well here it is post #2 in the Expedition Series, just as promised. This post is going to focus on the actual route we are going to be paddling and how the choice to paddle the section of river we are doing came about.
When Jeff and I first decided to paddle the Suwannee River, we thought about doing the entire length- a distance of 213 miles. Starting in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and ending at the Gulf of Mexico, in the Big Bend region of Florida.
After doing some research the biggest factor in deciding not to do the whole river was a time limitation. The trip has been made in 15 days at a steady pace and possibly as fast as 5 days at a marathon sprint(non-stop paddling, done by Terry Tomalin, George Stovall, Kasey LaLomia & Jon Willis, Dec. 2001 ). Jeff and I like to enjoy our time paddling so trying to do the whole river in 5 days was out of the question!!
Reason #2 is there are large class 3 rapids just north of where we decided to put in, and we do not want to destroy are precious Sea Kayaks! The 3rd reason is the Suwannee River Wilderness Paddling Trail starts just south of those rapids in a town called White Springs, and I found out it is the most scenic part of the river anyway.
The 91 miles from White Springs to the little town of Branford being the most scenic and uncrowded part of the river as well as being the best part of the Suwannee River Wilderness Paddling Trail had our minds made up!! We can average anywhere from 15 to 25 miles a day paddling, that puts us at just about 5 days worth of paddling. PERFECT!!
Another cool deciding factor was awesome camping opportunities along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, about every 15 to 20 miles they have either a Hub town or River camp- each camp has 6 roofed and screened decks for sleeping. At this time they are—- FREE to the paddling/camping public. The Hubs are usually at a State Park or Town where you can pay to camp. In addition there are many white sandbars/beaches to pitch a tent on for primitive camping. This makes it SOOO EASY that a Cave Man can do it!(SORRY GEICO) Ha Ha Ha Ha.
Guess What? That still leaves us 122 miles of river that we can always go back and do at a later time in life when we run out of other places to paddle- YEAH RIGHT!
So there you have it, now our destination and the route in which we will be paddling has been revealed! I hope our readers are getting at least half of the thrill and excitement Jeff and I hope to get from all this expedition stuff. I also hope this is helping and inspiring other paddlers to “Have a Thought” and “Plan a Trip”. Then GO Out and Get R’ Done!
Still Planning- Sea Turtle Sean
Next post in the series in 8 days; Expedition Planning: Making Arrangements.