Ocklawaha River Trip Report

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Ted | VCKC
Published Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Date: 23 May 2006

Number of Paddlers: 20 (Rentals: 6 canoes and 4 single kayaks and 4 private boats)

Travel Time from Mulberry Recreation Center: 1.5 hrs (includes shuttling needs)

Trip Length: 8 1/2 miles or 3-1/2 hrs to include rest stop. Put-in at approx 9AM. Travel directions were mostly accurate but have to delete reference to Eureka Dam in future reports. Also, on directions to Eureka the reference to turn left on to NE 154th should read 152nd off of 151 Terrace. 154th is a right off of 152nd. Which will take you to the Boat Ramp. Also, there is a quicker route between Put-In and Take-Out that will need to be driven to ensure for its value as a new/alternative route.

Boat Rentals and Park Fee:

Florida Pack and Paddle, www.floridapackandpaddle.com, provided canoe/kayak rentals. The Kayaks were comfortable Sit-Ons and 4 of his canoes were newer Wenonah's that were comfortable to sit on and paddle but do not accept the plastic back rests that some of us have. FPP does not provide shuttle service between Put-In and Take-Out. Parking fees at Gores was $3 per vehicle. There was no parking fee at Eureka. The trip leader had the parking fee envelopes and handed them out to drivers as we left Eureka Park

Car Shuttle:

Participating club members provided shuttle service.

Air Temperature and Weather Condition:

It was a near perfect late spring day with temps at the start of the trip in the mid to upper 70s and stayed at 80 degrees for most of the paddle with low humidity. There was high overcast and a light breeze on the river for most of the paddle.

The River and Terrain:

The Ock continues to impress us as a rewarding paddle. Because it cuts through the Ocala National Forest, it is for all purposes a wilderness trip. There is still evidence of the hurricanes that swept through the area over the past couple of years. At about 2 miles into the trip (based on my dead reckoning) we encountered downfall in and under the water level just at a bend and the 3 MPH current swept most boats against the obstruction. While no one capsized, those in canoes had difficulty navigating through the narrow passageway and I used my throw bag/rope to pull boaters over this obstruction, this delayed our trip about 20 minutes. That was the worst of the obstacles encountered but river conditions, primarily in the earlier part of the river, gave some technical knowledge. At about the 6 mile part and a little beyond that is nice pull-out area to use a tree or just rest for a few moments. The take-out is a little past the Route 316 on the left and just past the ramp for the Ocklawaha River Outpost (another outfitter

Wildlife Sightings:

During the earlier part of the trip many of us saw a variety of bird life. On the river we past almost 12 mostly young alligators, none of which posed a threat, and near the end, we passed a 5 footer just sunning itself on a log. This was
perhaps the most alligators we have seen on a river trip and for some of us, the first eyelevel encounters and something that will be talked about with friends and family.

Difficulty Rating:

With the exception of the downfalls we had to navigate through, the rest of the river was not a difficult paddle. However, until the deadfalls are removed, we would not recommend this portion of the river for novice (beginner) level paddlers. I was impressed with the skills of all on this trip understanding that this was the first of second paddle for many with our club and on Florida waters. The fact that no one capsized speaks of their abilities. All that I talked with felt the thrill of some challenge and difficulty but felt a boost of self-confidence. I applaud all for wearing their PFD and following safety instructions.

After Paddle Lunch:

Almost all joined us for lunch at The Wings House on Route 40 in Ocala. The food, service and cold drinks only added to the great conversations and laughs about our day on the Ock and, I am sure, new friendships were formed.


Last update Friday, April 11, 2008

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