Paddle Florida
 

Fifth Annual Fall Paddle Florida on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
Oct. 26-31, 2012 – Trip Overview

Madison Blue Spring State Park (Withlacoochee R.)
to Branford (Suwannee R.)


Capacity: 200 people
Distance: 65 miles
Registration: $275/Adult; $250/Senior, College Student;
$225/Youth 8-17; Child (7 and under)/free
Meals:
$150/person
Paddle Florida Lite: Four days or less: $60/day; Meals: $30/day

View Madison Blue Springs to Branford in a larger map

Day One — Friday, October 26, 2012
Participants in Paddle Florida will arrive at Madison Blue Springs State Park the day before the start for a night of camping and orientation for the adventure to come.  Paddlers will either drive straight to the starting point and park their vehicles there for the week, or take advantage of the River’s End Shuttle. If you are driving straight to the starting point, this shuttle at the end of the week will be available for those who need to get their boats and gear back to the starting point. If you would like to have your car waiting for you when you finish the trip, you may drive to Branford and park your vehicle there and take the Kick-Off Shuttle (a $50 fee –$25/person, $25/boat– is required for shuttle service). After having your boats loaded, you will be shuttled to Madison Blue Springs State Park to check in.

Day Two — Saturday,October 27, 2012
Madison Blue Springs State Park to Suwanee River State Park
(Go to an interactive Google Map of the day's track)
The first morning of Paddle Florida will have us departing Madison Blue Springs State Park. You will notice the distinctive aspects of the Withlacoochee as it makes its way into Florida from Georgia; a narrow riverbed and increasingly steeper limestone bluffs. After paddling a distance of 8 miles, we will stop for lunch at Melvin Shoals.  The shoals here can be up to a Class II, so we will portage those boats who wish to avoid the whitewater. All lunch stops will offer healthy "snack food," various fruits and drinks (all you can eat). Everyone should be fortified for the rest of this short 12-mile day. We will be establishing a stagger to avoid bottlenecks at rest stops.  In the afternoon, our intrepid paddlers will arrive at the Suwannee River State Park for overnight camping. One of Florida’s most visited parks, it sits at the confluence of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. On the way,  you will be treated to springs visible at the bottom of the limestone cliffs.  About one mile in, paddlers will experience Pott Springs on river left; one of the prettiest spots in the Suwannee River Valley, as well as a wide variety of wildlife native to the region.

Day Three — Sunday, October 28, 2012
Suwannee River State Park to Dowling Park River Camp
(Go to an interactive Google Map of the day's track)

Paddlers should remember that the Suwannee River Valley at this time of year can be cold, at least by Florida standards. Temperatures can range from 60-80 degrees during the day, and 35-55 degrees at night. When we depart the Suwannee River State Park this Saturday morning, we will embark on another short day: 14 miles to Dowling River Camp. The fire each night will provide light, heat, ambiance, trash disposal and olfactory delight. Be sure to bring cameras in order to capture and preserve some great moments. And remember to take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. Activities will be planned for each night.

Day Four — Monday, October 29, 2012
Dowling Park River Camp to Lafayette Blue Springs State Park

(Go to an interactive Google Map of the day's track)
Eleven miles farther down river, our overnight stop will again be hosted by the Florida Park Service. We'll once again skip the lunch stop and disembark at Lafayette Blue Springs State Park where lunch snack food will be on hand when paddlers arrive. Dinner this evening, and each evening will be served at 6:00pm. The campfire each night will provide light, heat, ambiance, trash disposal and olfactory delight. Be sure to bring your camera to capture and preserve some great moments. And remember to take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. Activities will be planned for each night.

Day Five — Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Lafayette Blue Springs to Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort and Campground (Go to an interactive Google Map of the day's track)

We will spend the night at the Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort and Campground after an easy 13 miles on day five. This is a beautiful private sector facility located at Convict Springs. Camping will be under a canopy of oak trees on a bluff overlooking the river. The Rendezvous also has a limited number of "indoor" accommodations available.

Suwannee River Rendezvous Campground logoSuwannee River Rendezvous Resort & Campground, 386-294-2510 for reservations and price or click on the logo to jump to the Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort & Campground Website.

On this day you will see the river begin to widen a bit as we make our way down this world-class waterway. You will also be treated to a few areas of "fast water" and several springs.

Day Six — Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort and Campground to Ivey Memorial Park
(Go to an interactive Google Map of the day's track)

Another short "sprint" of 15 miles this day. We have our rest stop nearly ten miles into the day's adventure, but it is well worth it, as we take a break for our final cookout/barbecue at Little River Springs, currently a Suwannee County Park, but soon to be an additional property of the Florida Park Service. This site is popular with cave and cavern divers. The spring is the entrance to a cave system more than 1,200 feet long and 100 feet deep. After visiting this picturesque location, the final five miles will be a breeze. On the way, we will also pass Royal Spring, Troy Springs and Ruth Springs, before we camp at Ivey Memorial Park in Branford, Florida. When you get off the river, you are nearly in downtown Branford.

 

WHAT HAPPENS HERE STAYS WITH YOU.
SEE YOU NEXT TIME . . . GOING WITH THE FLOW!



 
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