Sam and I went out to the Santa Fe River yesterday (Friday). (I cancelled face-to-face class meeting and put an assignment on the Internet for my students). The point was to kayak, of course, but also to see how much the flow had gone down and take some pictures. As planned, we went to the Highway 441 boat ramp,
saw there was plenty of water and a swift current, so I drove the Kia downstream (well, across High Springs on the roads) dropped the car at the Highway 27 boat ramp, and cycled back. So the car was downstream to meet us, and we had to pick up the bike later.
We floated the 3 miles or so down to Highway 27, after navigating what was almost a rapids right below the 441 ramp. The river was still a bit higher than what I’d call normal (after at least a dozen years of regularly paddling it), but at least 4-6 feet lower than the flood stage Sam and I saw and reported on June 30th.
There were some oddities, though, probably resulting from the flood’s effects on the banks and river bottom. About halfway down, Sam got snagged in some branches while trying to pull out or cut a line that some “fisherman” left tied to said branches– sometimes you’ll find a hook, sometimes even a fish snagged on it, but it’s strictly illegal (and unfair, and wrong). I tried to help, but there was a whirlpool that pushed me back upstream, and I couldn’t seem to find a way to time the turn back downstream toward Sam and actually help him. In fact, I got snagged myself, in the current, turned sideways, and soon capsized! (Hey, you’re not having fun kayaking unless you’re capsizing!”) We managed to right the boat, get to shore, and dump out some water, but I lost a hat and sunglasses (good thing it was just a baseball cap and cheap glasses — yet another reason not to buy Oakley sunglasses).
We didn’t see a soul, and there are no visible houses on that part of the river, not until you get down to about a half mile or so upstream from the Highway 27 ramp. Then there were a few kayaks and a motorboat. And my niece Devin was putting in a motorboat from a trailer with her friend Don when we pulled in.
Took this photo of a very unusual forked pine tree right at the parking lot of the Highway 27 ramp.
No, not moving in the sense of running or cycling, paddling with the current in a kayak — just changing domiciles, aka moving to a new house. I’ve now moved 7 times in the past 8 years, and I’m getting good at it.
Yes, the arrangements — calls to movers (Two Men and A Truck the last two times, worked out great); changing cable tv and Internet DSL (Cox Communications), turning off and one the utilities 9GRU), changing the address with the postal service, and so forth.
This morning, Saturday, was the big day; after 3 weeks of moving what I could, Sam helping me with some big stuff one day, the apartment was pretty much emptied out except for a chair, a sideboard, a couch, secretary, chest of drawers, and a bed. Oh yeah, and four boxes. The movers were scheduled to arrive between 8:30 and 9:00, and as I pulled in a parked at the apartment, I saw their truck as I got outta my car, at the crack of 8:30.
By 9:20 we were done (though I spent most of the rest of the day sorting things, putting clothes away, hanging pictures, arranging charger for my various things — an electric razor, a Kindle, a Macbook Air laptop, an iPhone.
So here I lay in bed tapping away at the laptop keyboard, wondering about what pictures I should take tomorrow to illustrate the move.
A new semester of teaching Technical Communication began for me on July 2nd — and, wonder of wonders, all my students showed up either the 2nd or the 3rd, not waiting as I feared until after the July 4th holiday to arrive. And, as a sort of lucky break, I only have 30 students total in two classes — typically there would be 40-42 students in two classses, so my workload of grading papers (grrrr) is reduced about 25%.
No new kayak adventures, unfortunately — eager to get back up to the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers and see how much the flood stage has gone down.
Hey, eventually all that water will flow into the Gulf of Mexico; just a question of how soon eventually is. For now, I’m eager to go back to Three Rivers Estates, on the Itchetucknee River (which flows into the Santa Fe River). You’re not looking at a river here — it’s a flooded road, that leads to houses ON the river.
Running is going well — 23 miles last week, on tract for 23-24 miles this week. Keeping up the cycling (20 miles this week so far), going to the gym for strength training twice a week instead of once or even once every two weeks.
Posted to the Dead Runners Society list (you could Google it, join Dead Runners Society) my goal for next April, when I turn 63 — to be the fittest 63-year-old in my smallish town of Gainesville, FL. Fellow listers, my friends, reined me in a bit with their comments. “Great goal, B!” said Nangel; but Jane said my goal should be to be better than my former self. A nice statement emerged: there is no virtue in beating others, but there is virtue in beating our former selves.
Works for me. No races in the near future — not trained up for the Beaches Fine Arts Triathlon Series, which I’ve done a few times, not trained up for the Biathlon Series here in Gainesville (it’s a half-mile swim, which is a lot for me, who is used to sprint tri’s with a quarter-mile swim). But September 24th there’s a 10k Under the Oaks on St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. I plan to be there.
We continued our flood exploration the next day, Saturday, June 30th. Pam and I drove up to the Suwannee River at Branford, stopping along the way to look at Three Rivers Estates, which is on the Itchetucknee River, a spring-fed river that feeds into the Santa Fe River, which feeds into the Suwannee, which eventually ends up at the Gulf of Mexico.
But first here’s a picture of the first place Sam and I stopped on Friday, June 29 — the Highway 441 boat ramp in High Springs.
The Stop sign is, of course, usually on the road, usually about 10 feet above the river level. As I mentioned before, there were High Springs Police Department barriers in the road to the boat ramp, presumably to keep anyone from actually driving right into the river.
And below is a picture of the Suwanee River, in park on the river in Branford. The little kid is playing on a ramp that leads to a walkway — both are usually above the water level, but here the bottom of the ramp and ALL the walkway are in the river.
The Suwanee’s banks are high in most places I’ve been to (Branford north through White Springs), so it would be unusual (though not unprecedented) for the river to rise over the banks.