Archive for the ‘New Years’ Category

I Should Be Walk ‘in the Plank!! Sorry the day 5 posting is late- but you just can ‘t trust us River Pirates!!

    Day 5 begins with a somewhat late wake up time, at Peacock Slough River Camp; of around 8:30 a.m. or so. We awoke to a light drizzling rain and occasional breeze, and temps in the mid 50’s. To me it was the perfect New Years Eve Day. For as long as I can remember most New Years Eves have started with an overcast coldfront sort of day here in Florida. The WORLD just seemed to be in PERFECT ALIGNMENT.

    Jeff and I got the stove fired up and finished our last day of 2 fried eggs a piece and Corned Beef  Hash for breakfast. After breakfast around 10:00 a.m. we decided to slowly pack up our gear again today, as the rain was falling pretty steady outside of the “Holiday Festive Chickee”. Also could have been that Jeff and I felt really at home in the “Holiday Camp”.  We must have spent about another 2 hours packing up and just enjoying the area  zone we were in at that moment!!

    Wouldn ‘t you know it , the rain subsided just in time for us to re-pack our gear in the kayaks and get back on the river around 12:20 p.m. We had a pretty strong tail wind that was helping to push us along down river, as well as the 3 knot current. Not to complain but cold wind on your neck is almost as bad as it is in your face – I said Almost. We paddled past an old swing bridge that looked like the skeleton of some long dead prehistoric animal, only after carefully looking at it again; found out it had 3-4 Evergreen trees of some sort growing out of the middle section of it. AMAZING- out of Death comes LIFE!!!! Another paddling EPIPHANY!! Jeff and I, once again took this opportunity to play (ferry in and out of) in the eddie lines that the current was making around the pylon that supported the swing bridge!! Once again, my smile muscles were hurting!! We continued to paddle for 2-3 hours before stopping briefly at, if memory serves me correctly; at Convict Springs to snack on some cheese and trail mix around 3:30 p.m.

    We paddled on after this and within 2 hours were at Adams’ Tract River Camp around 5:30 p.m., all totaled about another15-16 miles on the river for day 5. Once at the river camp we introduced ourselves to the camp hosts and unloaded our gear and began to set up our LAST home on the Suwannee. We ran into another paddler named Spencer that had also been paddling for many days on the river, Jeff and I spent some time talking to him before dinner. 

    For dinner Jeff and I had Chinese Kung Pao Chicken from Mountain House and the traditional “Southern New Years Eve Good Luck Food”– Yes —- wait for it…………  Black Eyed Peas!! Jeff also ate his “Northern Traditional Good Luck Food”– Pittsburgh Pretzel!! After dinner we reflected on our family and friendships as we sat around our New Years Eve Campfire- the only fire we had the WHOLE TRIP! Both of us gazed up at the Blue Moon that we had this year on New Years- to my understanding a full moon on New Years Eve is called a Blue Moon and does ‘nt happen all that often- TOTALLY FITTING for our trip!

    At some point Jeff broke out some Ice Cream Sandwiches he had stashed for dessert, as we ate them and called home around 10:00 p.m. to check in, I noticed Jeff putting coins out in front of his tent and in front of the window of the tent. “Jeff”, I said. “What are you doing?”

    Jeff replied, “Putting some coins outside of my tent, for Good Luck and continued prosperity, and financial well being in the New Year!” Jeff went on to explain that this is an old Polish Tradition. 

    “Pretty Cool!”, I said.

    We spent the next hour or so outside by the fire talking and listening to our surroundings. At midnight I was startled by the sound of our cooking pots/pans being banged together in celebration of the New Year by; Yep, you guessed it Jeff! Seems this is another one of his “Traditions from Pittsburgh and Poland”- maybe not in that order.

    This was soon followed by fireworks and GUNSHOTS! Yes, I know. Are you sure? Yes, I’ m sure as I have been raised around firearms for most of my life. Jeff and I decided after about 15 minutes it was probably wise to go get low in the tents and hope a stray bullet did not find us. I’ m sure they(whoever that is) were probably firing into the ground or into somewhere safe. But it was still a little unnerving to say the least!! After this excitement we were pretty much done for the night, but we did make it to the New Year!!

    Check back again on Thursday for Day 6 and the final posting on our Suwannee River Expedition!             -Sea Turtle Sean

All Right, on to Day 4 of the Suwannee River Trip. Sorry, a little late due to the fact of being at the Sweetwater Symposium last weekend.

Day 4 begins with an early wake up at Dowling Park Camp at around 6:15 a.m. to go get a hot shower at the famous portable bathrooms . After that I milled around a little bit waiting for the Jeffster to awake from his needed beauty sleep. The morning was crisp and cold and there was a slight fog/haze in the air. Jeff finally made some movement around 8:15 a.m. As we sat there in the chickee we decided to take it slow as we only had about 15-18 miles to paddle to our next camp- Peacock Slough River Camp!  I crawled back in my Cats’ Meow sleeping bag for about another hour or so.

At around 9:30 a.m., Jeff and I got up and fired up the stove for breakfast. On this morning we ate GOOD!! We each had 2 fried eggs and a healthy helping of Corned Beef Hash. The oatmeal was good but after 3 days of it the change was very much welcomed! We took our time packing up the tents, sleeping bags and gear. Walked it all downstairs(remember chickee on stilts at this camp) to the cart and pulled it to the landing. We loaded the kayaks up and set off down river for the next camp at around 11:30 a.m.

The river actually started to narrow in a little bit in this section and was pretty scenic again in my opinion. We paddled for about 2 hours, stopping to take a few pictures and get a quick snack on some peanut butter & other assorted goodies Jeff had brought. We began paddling again and paddled for about another 31/2 hours till we saw Peacock Slough River Camp on the Left side of the riverbank. Jeff and I made really good time and couldn ‘t believe how effortless it was, possibly because we had help from the current or maybe because we were getting stronger after 3 days of paddling already, or maybe the kayaks were getting lighter as we ate the food!  Another theory is that we were clicking along because we knew the longest day was over! Whatever it was we were MOVING!!!!

After arriving at Peacock Slough River Camp at around 5:00 p.m., we met the camp hosts. A very nice couple that stays there for about 3-4 months a year. I cannot recall their names.(shame on me) This couple is awesome though– they had decorated each chickee with a Pine Cone Angel and sprigs of Florida Holly, along with a candle holder made from styrofoam and a toilet paper roll, complete with paper flame that was orange and red glitter covered. Also they had some sort of Christmas Decoration on the front of each chickee- ours was the “Christmas Stocking Chickee”! They also had the County Park bathroom type – inside a building. They had Holly sprigs in there too!!! They had even decorated a small evergreen tree next to the bathroom building with Christmas lights and ornaments. TOTALLY AWESOME! We were there a couple days after Christmas, but it was still very neat and Jeff and I thought that if anyone had been traveling on Christmas Eve and stayed there; HOW COOL IT MUST HAVE BEEN- Just like home.

Jeff and I unpacked AGAIN and set up our home for the night. We got the stove going and boiled our water to add to our Mountain House Dinner- Beef Stroganoff- Yummy!! Jeff also baked a flat bread to go along with it. After dinner Jeff surprised me, and we enjoyed a desert of Dehydrated Space Neopolitan Ice Cream. Amazing how little sweets can make all the difference in your moral. Jeff, WE SALUTE THEE!

The rest of the night was spent checking in with the wives and children, a few games of solitaire and showers by both Jeff and I. Jeff and I also stayed up to talk about the paddle so far and reflect on tomorrow being New Years Eve and the New Paddling Year that was racing up on us. All I can say is a definite time to reflect on things past and present. We agreed that the two of us; were & are TRULY BLESSED!

Hope those who are following along are still staying entertained, and I promise to get Day 5 done on Monday 03/08/10. Day 5 includes the New Years Eve Party, GunShots, pots and pans, some coins, and a Blue Moon!!

Thank You, Sea Turtle Sean.

Jeff and Sean are both safe and WARM at home from our return from the Suwannee Expedition. We will be taking about 1-2 days to get re-adjusted to city life and to spend some time with our families. We will be posting some pictures just as soon as possible and there will be a few postings from both Jeff and I as we each tell our side of the story! Thats all for now as I am still unpacking and cleaning gear.
— Sea Turtle Sean

A pretzel for New Years?  This is no ordinary bread pastry made from wheat flour, water, sugar, and yeast, then sprinkled with coarse salt.  The New Year’s Pretzels: is a traditional good luck bread served by German families at New Year’s.  Unbeknown to Sean I plan on baking one of these tasty treats from scratch while we are on the Suwannee River New Years Eve.

I altered the recipe in order to make one on the Suwannee River.  You can get the full recipe in the “Three Rivers Cookbook” or on line.

0.5 c. milk
0.125 c. butter
0.5 pkg. active dry yeast
0.5 tsp. salt
0.125 c. sugar
1.75 c. flour
0.5 large egg
0.25 c. powdered sugar
0.25 T. water
0.375 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
0.0625 c. almonds or walnuts, chopped

Heat milk and butter until very warm. Mix yeast, salt, sugar, and 0.875 cup of flour.  Slowly beat warm milk into yeast mixture.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Add eggs and 0.875 of flour.  Beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add enough flour to form a soft dough.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and let rise again until doubled.  (1 hour more).  Divide dough in half.

Shape pretzel: Roll dough into a rope about 7.5″ long.  Cross the ends leaving a large loop in the center.  Flip loop back onto crossed ends to form a pretzel.  Repeat with remaining dough. Place pretzels on greased baking sheets.  Let rise 15 minutes more.  Bake at 375F.  for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.  Mix powdered sugar, water and vanilla to form a thin icing.  Spread icing on pretzels and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Makes 1 small pretzel.

Pictures of the event will appear in the New Year.

– Jeff