Monday, February 15, 2010

02/15/2010 - Juniper River (FL)

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Out of town event: Belton Dykes Memorial River Rat Rendezvous
What: Paddle four rivers in four days.
Base Camp: Camp Kiwanis on Mill Dam Lake in Florida
Today's Paddle: Juniper River, Florida (Day 4 of 4)
Weather: 65 degrees and Sunny
Distance: Approx 7 Miles from put in to take out.

1) Last night was our last night at Camp Kiwanis so this morning at sunrise we packed up our gear, ate breakfast, and prepared to go to our last paddle.

2) The warm waters and freezing temps in the early morning created a fog over the water on Mill Dam Lake every morning which the sun quickly burnt off.

3) The portage to Juniper Springs launch was long enough to warrant use of carts. It was a very well designed path to the launch. Note the "Disposable Containers Prohibited" sign. They mean it it too.

4) Space however at the launch spot was limited.

5) Juniper River is shallow, narrow, and twisty. The ambiance of this river left one feeling like being in the middle of a jungle.

6) Waters were crystal clear with a white sandy bottom. The current was strong enough in some areas to create a risk of getting caught in strainers or causing a dangerous traffic jam among kayakers.

7) Only about one or two people were visible at any time, but paddles banging against metal rental canoes could be heard miles away.

8) Wildlife on this river was not as abundant as the other rivers, but on this river, one didn't need a lot of distractions. If you didn't pay attention the current could quickly push you into underwater obstacles or low limbs. Several people on previous days capsized into the cold waters.

9) The color of the water eventually took on a reddish hue but stayed clear all the way through to the end.

10) Coming out of the jungle into more open waters where the sun was shinning was nice.
The Belton Dykes Memorial River Rat Rendezvous was a very enjoyable event. All the volunteers, paddle group leaders and sweepers, shuttle support, live music noise, and great food made this a superb kayak trip. I really enjoyed making friends and paddling with a lot of wonderful people. The rivers, even though it was winter time, were stunningly beautiful and the abundant wildlife on the rivers very photogenic.

To see a track of this trip, click here.

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