Shoals, Sprangs, and Other Thangs!

This beautiful spring is one of many we visited on our Suwanee River Kayak Trip!

As we continued our southbound Suwanee River Kayak junket, we started where we left off last year at the Suwanee River State Park on a rainy Sunday November Morning. The five paddlers met before daylight and loaded equipment into two trucks and drove to the State Park.

The Paddling Team

Fortunately, the rain subsided and the weather could not have been better for the three day trip with highs in the 70’s and lows at night in the 50’s which kept the mosquitoes at bay.

Day 1 from Suwanee River State Park to Dowling Park River Camp
Day 1 awaits!
Jay waters up for the day ahead!
Mark makes some final adjustments before heading out!
This old railroad trestle stands as a reminder of days long gone.
This old trestle is one of several we will paddle under.
Edward settles in for a day of paddling!
The Suwanee River is lined with beautiful limestone formations. The river was very low which exposed the lower portions of the formations.
With the river level being so low, many of the springs alongside the riverbanks were exposed and flowing into the river. Often they gave themselves up by the noise they make long before they were seen!
Rick and Edward discuss the finer points of paddling techniques such as “feathering” the paddle!
Old bridges span the river.
Mark takes a break under a bridge!
The day 1 morning rains finally left and the afternoon was beautiful!
Day 1 ended at the Dowling Park River Camp.

With day 1 in the books, the paddlers pulled into the first stop of the trip, Dowling Park River Camp. These river camps are state run camps only accessible by the river. There is a camp host at these sites who oversees and maintains the properties. The camps are free but you do have to make reservations ahead of time. They are a very welcome sight to weary paddlers. They have restrooms and bath houses with hot/cold running water. They have picnic tables and screened in houses to sleep in. They could not be nicer!

Day 1 consisted of 14.5 miles of paddling at a 3mph pace. The winds were light and the paddling was excellent. The river was very low which, over the course of 3 days, exposed 12 sets of rock shoals that the paddlers had to navigate. These shoals were challenging and added some excitement to the trip!

Dowling Park River Camp Cabin
Bath Houses at Dowling Park
Inside of the screened cabin!
Jay begins day 2 with a hearty Mountain House Breakfast.
Day 2 takes the paddlers from Dowling Park to Peacock Slough.
Day 2 Begins!
Rick begins day 2 by pouring water out of his Kayak.
And they’re off!
Old bridges cross the Suwanee!
Another beautiful spring pours into the Suwanee!
The Cypress Trees were showing their fall colors!
Cypress knees and tree roots line the river bank.
This buck swims the Suwanee!

Shortly before noon on day 2 a big whitetail buck flew down the eastern bank of the river and with one huge leap hit the river. He was on a mission as if swimming for his life. I paddled close to him in order to take a few photos, trying not to get too close, but he spotted me and turned back. I backed off all the while taking photos. Unfortunately, he swam into a large, downed oak tree in the river and got trapped. He desperately fought to get over the tree and finally made it. Once away from the tree, he swam to the shore and climbed the bank and ran south. Having seen little wildlife on the trip this was an exciting occurrence!

Bucky exits the river and takes off! Sorry for the poor image but Bucky wasn’t waiting around for photo ops!
Cypress Knees!
This suspension bridge spans the Suwanee!
Mark paddles out of a beautiful spring!
Dive platform over a riverside spring!
Day 2 ended at Peacock Slough River Camp.
Deluxe accommodations await!
This pavilion at Peacock Slough was the paddlers dining hall. Like the other River Camps Peacock Slough is only accessible by river.
Day 2 comes to a close.

Paddlers paddled 18 miles on day 2 with an average speed of 3mph.

Day 3, the final day of the trip is about to begin!
Day 3 will find paddlers travelling from Peacock Slough to the boat landing at Hwy 27.

Edward begins the 3rd and final day!

Jay begins the day!
Day 3 turned out to be a warm and beautiful Florida day, perfect for paddlin’!
Paddlers encountered this old railroad turnstile trestle, a remnant of days long gone.
This old trestle is a part of American History…oh the stories it could tell…
These migrating Turkey Vultures roosted by the hundreds. Paddlers were very careful not to paddle under these big birds!
Yet another spring empties into the Suwanee River!
Paddlers ventured up into this Spring just north of Branford. People were swimming in the spring.

Day 3 was the longest day of paddling with approximately 20 miles having been covered. The trip ended at the Hwy 27 bridge/boat landing where the next leg of this journey will begin. This was a wonderful adventure with 5 great friends! The entire trip was approximately 52 miles at a 3mph average. The river was low and we encountered 12 rocky shoals. Wildlife was scarce however we did see a deer, turkey, otter, and a lot of birds. Very little boat traffic and few people were encountered! This trip only leaves us to strongly anticipate the next leg! Hope you enjoyed this blog! All photos were taken with a Go Pro Hero 8 Black.