Monday, January 26, 2009

Kayaking Lower Suwannee NWR


McCormick Creek boat ramp, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.

Sunday at mid-day, I stole away for a few hours of kayak time in the vast Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. I didn't have much time, because I was supposed to be back at my bright orange kitchen for a lasagna, salad, garlic bread, and Texas sheet cake early supper with all my babies and a few of their friends.

Knowing my time was limited, I chose the nearby refuge's McCormick Creek for some water time. The "ramp" at McCormick Creek is just barely that ... a little bit of limerock gravel and a sandy track out to it. Once you unload your vessel, you park your vehicle on the slope of the road shoulder ... misjudge and you are in the marsh.



Can you say "redneck"?

I was trying to get a shot of my kayak beyond the "bow with feet" shots that I use to show where we are heading in these kayak posts.

You'd never know that hat cost me only $2.00.
What?
What do you mean I spent too much?

It's not my favorite hat either, but as much as I like chatting with my perky dermatologist, I don't want her cutting on me anymore so there's always a hat and SPF 5000 sunscreen in the JEEP.



I went upstream first. Downstream, the creek widens and an afternoon breeze was blowing in off the Gulf of Florida, so the shelter of the high grassy banks was inviting.

Plus, for me, the purpose of the kayak is to get me into skinny water where other boats can't go and upstream was definitely skinny.


There was a choice in sharp grasses along this creek. On one bank, sawgrass dominated while on the other, sharp pointy needle rush ruled. So, you could alternate between getting slashed or punctured depending on which bank you bumped against.

There were lots of gator laydowns along the way. In the winter, they like to bask up on the bank and it causes areas of flattened rushes ... the "laydowns". There's usually a bit of slick bank from their hauling out and sliding in activity too.
This was a warm day after a week of freezing temps so most of the gators were out grocery shopping, not lying about.

I paddled upstream with an incoming tide, hoping for critters but getting mostly scenery. The creek got tighter and tighter and then I came to this treefall.

Did I turn around and explore elsewhere or did I go forward?

That is the question...
... for tomorrow.

23 comments:

Dr. Know said...

Slashed or punctured - what a decision. I prefer slashing myself. Gators grocery shopping? Dude, you are the grocery delivery for a nice, fat 8+ footer.

Now, about the shirt - Got ammo? Please, tell me you're not buying into all that (false) gun ban mania the shrieking morons on the radio are humping...

SwampAngel65 said...

I hope you ventured forth! Times like this I am living vicariously through you, and going forward is what I would've done...

Sayre said...

Texas sheet cake? What IS that?

The slashing or puncturing - what a choice! I've had plenty of both and I honestly can't decide which I'd rather be...

TROLL said...

Know of a good source (with big pictures) concerning Florida Invasive Species? The Gub'mint site sucks eggs, not surprisingly.

Susan Rose said...

I just read yesterday's post... so if the park is called "Guana," I'm looking for bats. Hmmm. (Guano?)

So glad you were able to document your pterodactyl sighting. I've seen them too and also have documentation. I wonder why this isn't on the news.

I'm JEALOUS of your kayak and your kayak adventures. VERY JEALOUS. These boats help us feel like we belong in the watery environment instead of being a "clunky canoe person making noise and waves." I love how kayaks require minimum effort from me. ONE DAY...

robin andrea said...

I like a good $2.00 hat. Such a deal, stylish and good for your skin.

I'm going to guess you didn't go further. I think I heard lasagna calling, and all those kidlets waiting for you to come home. OTOH, you may have heard the call of something wild just beyond the tree fall. In that case, you went onward.

Pablo said...

Hey, I own that place, don't I?

How heavy is that kayak? I would think that you wouldn't have to back into a boat ramp for that. Couldn't you just shoulder the thing and carry it to the water from the parking lot?

caroline said...

I say onward.
That sawgrass looks lethal, it ain't only the gators that have teeth in your neck of the woods.
Caroline at 44N 103W and 5F

tsiya said...

I cornered a big gator in a tight place like that once, and felt every knob on it's back scrape the canoe when it decided it was leaving!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

You're only a redneck if you have a wad of dip in your cheek and a 6 pack of Bud floating behind you!
The Walking Store makes a great sunscreen hat-JonJ wears one all the time when outdoors.He's good friends w/ his derm. too.

Anonymous said...

Onward and upward!

Patti

threecollie said...

Nice pics....I love both the hat and the shirt!

tsiya said...

ChrisC and JonJ, he's a Redneck, trust me! We just don't think that's a bad thing to be. We are very much misunderstood, not many folks are smart enough to see the wisdom of our ways!

Floridacracker said...

Doc,
I don't succumb to mania.
Had that shirt for years.

Swampangel,
Great minds think alike.

Sayre,
Texas sheet cake and that meal gets a post sometime this week!

Troll,
Not off the top of my head. Plants or critters?

Susan Rose,
I love this kayak more every time I use it.
Maybe we should start a pterodactyl web site.

Robin,
This was early in the float so I was not affected yet by lasagna lust. heehee

Pablo,
Yes you do.
No parking lot here, just the narrow single lane causeway in. Yes, sometimes I tote it (60 lbs), but on this day I backed in ... I'm a real good trailer backer.

Caroline,
We do have an abundance of spiky, pointy bitey things don't we?

Tsiya,
I was anticipating a similar event as the creek narrowed.

Chris and Jon,
Well I don't do tobacco and I really prefer Yuengling, so I may not qualify.

Patti,
You got that right!

3C,
You can get that shirt at Picket Weaponry in Newberry, Florida. I think they have a website.

Miz S said...

It makes my stomach lurch a little bit to think about being low in the water like that with gators lurking about. Could a renegade gator turn that thing over?

Dr. Know said...

I don't succumb to mania.
Had that shirt for years.

OK - good to know. That shirt sure is black to have been washed many times - just saying'. ;-)

Used to have a Kayak, black water in the Okee, Chattahoochee before is was sewage. Fun, fast, lightweight. PITA getting in and out of...

Ericka said...

ummm, texas sheet cake. i just made one for a tgif celebration last week.

i'm glad you weren't on the grocery list. :-)

Julie Zickefoose said...

You're such a breath of fresh air, FC. Got ammo? It reminds me of Bill of the Birds' Buck Fever hat.
or his collection of beer cozies that say things like, "If SHE ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!"

tsiya said...

"I was anticipating a similar event as the creek narrowed".
========================
The resulting noise is sort of hard to describe! At least my old canoe had gunnels I could get a grip on, LOL I don't know if that matters but it made me feel better!
I was up Deep Creek to where the WPA channelization began, is that how to spell it? I figure I had about a foot of creek under the keel, and that big damn gator just slid right through.
The big problem with fiberglass canoes is that they make every little bump sound like a nuclear explosion.

Kimberlee said...

It sure is green in those photos! And it's January??? I know you guys had some cold weather. I guess the jungle bounced back! :)

For adventure's sake, I'd say you went on. But those shoes don't look very water-tight. Squish, squish, squish.

Bill said...

FC,
I say you went on. Then about 30 feet later turned around. I know you like to walk in muck. Don't we all. That place looks flat out plugged up to me.

TROLL said...

Plants and critters. With pictures!
Heck, even a simple LIST using their ENGLISH names would be helpful.

Scientists shouldn't be allowed to put content on the inter-web.

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
Me too. Don't you love that lurchy feeling?

Doc,
It's not a shirt you can wear just anywhere ... especially if you are a teacher.

Ericka,
Isn't that a great cake?

Julie,
I yam what I yam :)
There's real wisdom on Bill's cozies.

Tsiya,
I love Deep Creek.

Kimberlee,
We stay pretty green even through the freezes. I don't mind wet feet, so old sneakers are my usual footwear on these trips!

Billy,
You called that amazingly well.

Troll,
I assume you googled around? I tend to either know it if it's Florida we are talking about or, I use my plant books.
Wish I were more helpful.