Tour de Flood, Part II
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.