Well, it seems we have come to the last and final post on our Suwannee River Expedition. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading & following along with our trip, from the beginnings of our planning to the actual descriptions of each day of our entire trip! If you have not read it all just go to the Expedition link on the side tab and go back to: Expedition Planning: Starts with a Thought! then read each one all the way to todays post.
So on with Day 6 : Begins with about a 7:30 a.m. wake-up and a hot shower for me first thing. Jeff slowly arose himself and if memory serves me correct he also headed for a shower. We then got my trusty MSR Whisperlite stove fired up and boiled our water for some oatmeal for a quick breakfast. We slowly packed up our last camp, and reflected and talked about the entire trip and the fact that today was our last day of paddling and soon we would be back in civilization.
Jeff and I got back on the water after saying our “goodbyes” and “Happy New Years” to the camp hosts & a Paddlers’ “Good Luck” to Spencer, the other paddler that was also getting ready to resume his trip to the Gulf; via the Suwannee. We started to paddle around 9:45 a.m. towards Branford and our take-out point at Ivey Park Boat Ramp.
We only had about 12 miles left to do so we naturally paddled at a snails pace to enjoy our final miles on the river. We stopped at Troy Springs for a brief few minutes, a spring that is so close to my property I can ‘t believe my father never took us there as kids. I will be taking my sons there the next time we go to camp at the property!!!! BET THAT!! From there we paddled on about another 4 miles to Little River Springs which is a haunt we frequented alot as kids with my parents. It was very flooded with the high water and probably was dangerous to swim in at this stage of water height. Needless to say it did not have the characteristic AQUA BLUE waters I was used to!
From there we paddled down enjoying the last 5 miles of our journey and not a word was spoken between Jeff and I as nothing needed to be said: We both knew this was the END- for Now.
Finally the 349 bridge at Branford was spotted about 200 yards ahead of us as we rounded a bend in the river. Funny how you are so sad to be done, yet really glad to see the end. Does that even make sense? I guess only a paddler knows the feeling.
We pulled into Ivey Park Boat ramp at around 1:oo p.m. and began to unload the kayaks. Once all gear was unloaded from yaks, we loaded it all back into my SUV; then loaded the kayaks themselves onto the roof racks. Jeff looked at the GPS which read 96.7 miles- I believe we did at least 100 miles if not more with the playing we did and occasional back tracking to see something we had passed by and noticed for a quick turnaround.
After loading the kayaks and gear we headed to my property where we had planned on spending one more night- upon arriving there we did a quick inspection of the place and decided that with it being colder at 2:00 p.m. than it was at 7:30 a.m.; it was probably best to head home than stay and freeze for the night just to get in one more night. TOUGH DECISION! We must be getting OLD!! Ha Ha Ha . Anyways after locking my cattle gate to the land we turned the Honda south towards Pinellas County and headed home!!!!
Well that is it THE END!! Till our next Expedition to paddle parts unknown: hint– Might be out of the state or country depending on the economy!! Who knows, The Boys at Liquid Rhythm Kayaking will keep you posted you can bet on that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As Always Thank You for Reading & Keep Your Hair Dry & Your Paddle Wet!
– Sea Turtle Sean