Today is December 6, 2001 and Tina, Jordan and I set out on the Withlacoochee River for Tina's maiden voyage in her newly purchased kayak. As usual, it's a beautiful day in Florida with temperatures expected to reach the high 70's or low 80's. The sun is shining and its a perfect day to kayak on a new river. Although the river is new to me, its not new to Tina since she was raised in this area and is familar with the river having canoed it before. We set out from River Junction and paddled up the river to Nobleton which is about 7 miles. We did it in about 3 1/2 hours which seemed to us to be pretty good time. This river is beautiful for many reasons. Some sections are very wide, some are very narrow and most are perfect without obstructions. The current was slow and made it very easy to paddle. There are places all along to pull over and take a rest stop without difficulty unlike some rivers which are so deep at the edges that its almost impossible to get in or out of a kayak without going for a swim. I should add that the water level is extremely low and if it were at its normal level, it might be more difficult also. We've all been hearing about the drought situation in Central Florida, but when you see the waterline on the trees in this area, you can really understand just how low the water is. Although, its hard to believe, the water is about 5 to 6 feet low along the run. I have indicated on one of the pictures where the waterline is so you can see for yourselves. At the end of the run, we pulled into the Nobleton Boat Rental and asked if we could leave our kayaks there while we went for lunch at a restaurant across the street. The owner was very nice and allowed us to do that. We enjoyed a great hamburger and french fries outside since Tina did not have shoes on. We called her Dad and he and his friend came with their truck to pick us and our boats up and return us to our starting point where I had left my car. It was a wonderful day and the nicest river I have seen yet. Lots more to go though!
This is what most of the river looks like. The white spot directly ahead is a crane.
We spotted Buzzards in a tree above us and I was able to grab this picture. They had a nest in another tree close by.
Here you can see a crane flying away as we approached. These birds don't allow you to get too close before they fly off to another spot where they feel safer.
This is Tina and Jordan. Sorry about the quality of the shot but I decided to include it anyway because it shows the environment and its only the faces that are not clear. Tina's boat is a two person and more difficult to handle than my one person boat. She is still learning to control it and doing very well. We have agreed that the weight distribution would seem to be the key to controlling it. The next time out, she is going to try sitting in the far rear. The guy at the Nobleton Boat Rental suggested that was the best way for one person to control a large boat like this one.
This is a good shot showing the waterline. I wrote it in and hopefully, you can see it. There's a line on the tree and thats where the normal water level should be. You can see that the water is easily 5 feet below normal and maybe even 6 feet. This river is in Sumter County. The water shortages vary from county to county and I think Sumter County is very low. Its estimated that it would take 2 or 3 hurricanes to bring the water level back to normal.
We stopped for a rest here. As I said earlier, this river is loaded with spots to do this. Tina spotted a doe in the woods while we were here. She walked right up on it.
This is Jordan standing beside Tina's kayak.
This is Jordan and I beside my kayak.
This is another shot of the area with Tina and Jordan paddling by.
These are some people we came across that were fishing.
This concludes todays trip and we stopped here for a hamburger. Tina had left her shoes back at our starting point so we couldn't eat inside but the waitress did bring our hamburgers and fries out here. The table was pretty rickety, but the hamburgers were great!