Cross Creek Trip Report

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Ted Wendel | VCKC
Published Thursday, April 12, 2007

Date: April 12, 2007

Location: Cross Creek (Orange Lake to Lochloosa)

Number of Paddlers: 52

Boats: Majority were rentals with an assortment of private boats.

Travel Time From The Villages: Varied by route taken and starting point within The Villages. This was independent travel to arrive for planned 1PM Put-In. My travel distance from Woodbury was approximately 46 miles or just under one hour

Trip Length: Approximately 3 hours

Boat Rentals:

Lars Anderson, operator of Adventures Outpost provided rental canoes, single and tandem kayaks. The Old Towne Canoes were comfortable and in reasonably good shape, however, some of his kayaks lacked foot braces and is a point to discuss with him should we consider his services in the future.

Weather Conditions:

The hard rains that hit our area for a few days prior to the trip abated and we had scattered clouds, a strong sun with temperatures in the upper 80s, and brisk breezes. These conditions added to the physical demands of this trip (see below). On the plus side, the rains that had just ended took away any humidity.

The Paddle:

We launched at the boat ramp area, which is part of the Rawlings State Park and was very easy to find. Lars arrived on time and the boats were ready for launch after he gave us a brief safety talk. Once you leave the launch area you enter Orange Lake and turn right to Cross Creek (marked by a red flag on a large pole) for a mile or so paddle through this somewhat narrow channel into Lochloosa where we did the majority of the paddle.

My wife and I did this trip with Lars about 3 years ago and have good memory of a pleasant and relatively effort free trip. The trip of April 12th was not the same and was more physically demanding then expected due to the weather conditions but more so because of the shallow water levels which made paddling difficult.

After the trip I spoke with Lars who confirmed that water levels were very low and that unless this improves he would not conduct trips on these lakes. The physical demands of this trip caused some to turn around at points and either paddle on their own or return to the launch/take-out site.

I must state that I would rather travel the narrow twisty waters of Wekiva, Weekie Wachee, Juniper and the other wonderful rivers we visit then open lakes but each offers club members adventures and beauty to discover and enjoy.

Passing Scenery:

What's not to enjoy about seeing the sights of a Florida that existed 50 or so years ago and yet few realize is not all that far away from where we live. I am not just talking about the wooded areas surrounding the lakes but also seeing the old cracker homes that people still live in and the wilderness of rural areas.

Wildlife Sightings:

Lars helped us spot Bald Eagles, Osprey and various other bird life that inhabit this body of water. I heard that a fish leaped into one boat, startling its occupants. Some of us spotted a 3 to 4 foot snake, most likely a Water Moccasin, swimming right by us at about the mid lake point,

Group Enjoyment and Difficulty Rating:

All found this to be a demanding paddle and one that I would not repeat unless the water level rises and for cooler times.

Lunch Stop:

Just about all joined us at The Yearling Restaurant (as planned) for cold drinks, good company, and fine food. I had Soft Shell Crabs that were excellent and my wife and I shared a Sour Orange Pie that was somewhat similar to another favorite Key Lime Pie, it was delicious.

Hats off to this group of sturdy paddlers!

Ted Wendel

Last update Thursday, April 10, 2008

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