Posts Tagged ‘Ocklawaha River’

We have paddled this river many times and every time something new occurs.  In the past we have heard deep cat like guttural sounds, found a leg of a deer along the bank, and been surprised by an owl flying over our head.  And the night we spent out there held a special surprise for me.

Early that day Sean and a few of our friends paddled up to Silver River. I was unable to join them because I was teaching a rolling class two hours away.  By the time I was able to join Sean they had finished paddling Silver River and were waiting for me at Ray’s Way Side Park.  It is a common thing that they were waiting on me.

We gathered our camping kits then paddled down river to join up to the Oklawaha.  The water was clearer than usual due to all of the rain.  And the trees had that ravaged windblown look.  The park service has been implementing designated camping locations to decrease the impact of camping along the shore line.  And it seemed to be working because where we camped looked great!  There was no trash, and we had a table.

It is always amazing how much gear some paddlers can put into their kayaks.  Two of our friends brought so much gear for this overnight paddle that I thought they planned on staying for a month.  But Sean was guilty of this packing style when we first paddled around Pinellas County.

During dinner the six of us swapped stories of better ways to cook, pack, and what not to do.  Sean once had an aluminum cook set.  And he forgot his hot pad to remove the pot from the stove… He used his bare hand to pick it up from the handle… the next camping trip he had a new GSI cook set.

Sean burnt his finger two years ago

I too have done some silly things but I did my most memorable mistakes when I was in Scouts.  One mistake I witnessed was trying to speed up the baking of a cobbler in an aluminum dutch-oven by adding more wood.  I do not know how hot the fire got but it melted the aluminum dutch-oven.

We also had a fire on the Oklawaha River.  Camping is just not camping without one.  The only thing that burned was Kevin’s marshmallows.  Some people like their s’mores extra crispy.  Granted I like to have baked apples as my campfire snack.

We then all bedded down for the night.  Everyone was in tents but me.  I wanted to sleep in my hammock and be gently rocked to sleep.  A few hours before dawn, I was abruptly woken up by a solid bump.  Something walked under me and was tall enough to push me like one does to an obstructing tree limb.  I held my breath.  All I could see was blurry starlight.  What I heard sounded familiar.  It didn’t sound like a dog walking through camp.  It sounded more like a buck.

I did not fall asleep after that bump.  The mind creates so many plausible and frightening ideas.  After the sun started to break I checked the bank for tracks.  And I did see some deer tracks near the water edge.  So maybe a deer did walk under me thinking I was a tree limb.

– Jeff

National Safe Boating week is May 16-27, 2009

National Safe Boating week is May 16-27, 2009

On Saturday, May 16, 2009, the Marion County Aquaholics Paddlers Group sponsored their 10th Annual Paddlers PokerRun.  They had a record attendance this year.  There were more than 206 paddlers on the water for this eight-mile paddle starting at Gore’s Landing and running down the Ocklawaha River.  There was a line of registering paddlers behind Sean and me.

It was great to see all of the paddlers joining together to support the Ocala Outdoor Adventure Club.  The club is a non-profit group that teaches outdoor skills to children and youth.

I only have a few safety concerns for the planers and volunteers to reflect on.  I saw many people of varying skill levels on the water and many people did not have a life jacket.  There were a few canoes and kayaks that flipped over and got entangled in strainers.  And I think the club should require people to have a life jacket.

Ocklawaha RiverThis event is also not handicap friendly.  The put in, take out, and the way it is organized in how the participant get their cards at each station along the bank is could cause a serious accident.  I saw a few older paddlers slip and fall scrambling up a bank to get their playing card.

This is another safety issue.

What would work is if each station had a tandem kayak anchored in the middle of a wide part of the river.  That would speed up the delivery of playing cards. And paddlers would not feel deprived due to limited flexibility, or disability.

Every year this event grows.  I and thank and recognize the hard work put into the event by the organizers and volunteers.  They do a great job in getting out and working with the community

Ocklawaha RiverOn Saturday, May 16, 2009, the Marion County Aquaholics Paddlers Group will sponsor their 10th Annual Paddlers PokerRun.  The eight-mile paddle starts at Gore’s Landing and runs down the Ocklawaha River.  The proceeds benefit the Ocala Outdoor Adventure Club.  The club is a non-profit group that teaches outdoor skills to children and youth.

Our plans are to camp at the Silver River State Park Friday night.  It is a nice park.  And camping there is a good way to be relaxed and focused for the Poker Run.

There is early registration of $10 per kayak.  If you register on the day of the event, the charge is $15.  There is also a separate free game with prizes for children under eleven.

I know Jeff has already written about our trip (in his post Christmas kayaking reflection) this past weekend! I thought it would be neat to hear it from a different perspective. First let me start by saying My Paddling Buddies and I have talked about doing this trip for years and it took this long to get the FUN DUN!!  Its always funny to me what seems to lead to a particular paddling destination, case in point the Birthday of a good friend. Birthdays to me are important so I like to do cool things to celebrate them. Brian (above mentioned good friend) told me about the Ocklawaha Campsite that we chose to stay at on this paddle about 2 years ago. So for Bians B-Day we all went paddling on the Ocklawaha!

What a beautiful river, the name Ocklawaha means MUDDY river, which to me is funny because I have seen some muddy rivers and this one is not that muddy!  We paddled for about an hour and 30 minutes down river to a great campsite set on a High Bluffs area, overlooking the river!

We had a peaceful time only seeing 5 people over the course of 3 days and 2 nights.  As, Jeff said it was nice to get away from the hustle & bustle of  THE HOLIDAY SEASON, not to mention everyday life! For me though this trip was a neat adventure not only for the fact that it was new water, also for the experience(experiment) of seeing the different attitudes from the 3 people on the trip and what it meant to each of us!  More posts later to elaborate on the “Mixing and Blending of Different Personalities on Paddle Trips!”

All I can say to close with is what a WONDERFUL  area to paddle and camp at. If getting away and primitive camping are your thing than this is your trip, being within 21/2 hours of  the Tampa Bay area.  I also wanted to touch on the wildlife we saw: Bowfin fish, Bald Eagle, Limpkins, Alligators, River Otter, a deer leg- probably from a hunter(human or gator).  We also heard a Bobcat or Panther screaming!!  I would also like to mention how much you appreciate heat and a good mattress after humbling youself in the woods, and reflect on what it must have been like 2000 years ago, on a cold and HOLY Night!!!!!!!        SEE YOU ON THE WATER & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

Sean “Topa Honu”

P.S. The picture below is of some Swamp Maple Saplings growing out of a Cypress Shaft!! Jeff and I thought it was a Cool Picture!!!!

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