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August 24, 2012

The Kayak Trip That Almost Was

by Brendan

So, Rick at I met up yesterday at a little after 9:00, loaded boats, and headed up to Santa Fe River Park, near the Highway 47 bridge.  We went up there specifically because it’s a good bit downstream on the Santa Fe River, and we’d been hearing accounts of a near-flood-stage upriver near Fort White.

Well, the Santa Fe River (which is NOT what you see in the photo below

Not the Santa Fe River

–no, that’s guys on the beach in Haiti looking for Hurricane Isaac.  Just thought I’d deke my faithful readers with a photo that has little to do with the the text posting, over than there’s water in the frame, as there would also be if I had a picture of, say, Santa Fe River Park).  Well, the Santa Fe River WAS actually up an observable amount — Rick and I lasered our eyes in on a strut on the Highway 47 bridge to see if we could detect any rising.  Nope, it stayed the same for 5-20 minutes.

So, since the river didn’t seem to be continuing to rise noticeably, we took the boats off the roof, complained a bit about the current we would have to paddle against, and decided to start out when the rain, which had been sprinkling, came down a bit harder.  Checking the weather map on our handy iPhones, we saw that more severe thunderstorms were nearby.

Not wanting to be caught on the river in a lightning storm, we reloaded the boats and decided to drive up to Branford to look at the Suwanee River.  It looked nice, no detectable rise, no boat traffic.

Then back to High Springs, where we’d check out the Highway 47 boat ramp.  When we got there, it was pandemonium.  A parking lot full of aluminum canoes (rentals from Canoe Outpost or Adventure Outpost) and school buses.  We decided to look.  The rain was coming down pretty hard now, and we saw canoe guides in the water making sure all the school kids turned in at the ramp — some boaters were having real trouble making the turn from river to boat ramp with the current flowing mighty fast..

So that’s the kayak trip that involved loading and unloading kayaks, driving to boat ramps, but not getting on the river.  The plan now is to head back to the river next Friday, August 31st — Rick, Richard, and I, the charter members of the Paddling Club.

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