Juniper Springs Survey


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VCKC
Published Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Juniper Survey

1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
Excellent trip description. Meeted or exceeded my expectations in every way. Definitely not a trip for inexperienced paddlers (probably reason for so may "SPILLS"). Only my second outing in a kayak, but felt very comfortable and feel it afforded me a real workout. would definitely do it again. I belong to a number of clubs in The Villages and consider this the best organized and prepared club I belong to (Accolades to the planners!).

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
Nope

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!]
Again, I think there were a number of novices that probably shouldn't have been on this run. It made it even more difficult for better paddlers because of the backups created. Fortunately, everyone came to their aid when necessary. A great bunch of people

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
Gators is always a fun atmosphere. In warmer weather sitting outside overlooking the lake is great.

Gary Brady



1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
I though I was a pretty good kayaker but had a hard time maneuvering down the narrow, and many bends, river in the long kayak. At times my paddles seemed wider than the river. Would love to try it again in 9' kayak with a canoe paddle.
Was thankful we didn't see an alligator - I would have hit him with the paddle.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
Didn't tip but had quite a few occasions when I thought sure I was going to.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!]
It was probably the most beautiful river I've been on in Florida. As always, fellow paddlers and organization were great - which makes the fine club that we are.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
Had a super burger and friendly service.

Mary Ring



1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
ALmost - the current was a little more difficult than we were prepared for although we were doing quite well until after the snack break.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
We were one of the canoes which tipped over. The current sent the rear of the canoe into an overhanging trunk which caught the rear canoeist and sent him overboard. Needless to say the front passenger also went over. Thanks to the fellow trippers we were able to get righted, bailed out and on our way - somewhat wiser for the experience as well as colder.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!]
I enjoyed the quiet times on the springs - what few there were - when the reflections of the foliage on the shore was mirrored in the water. I enjoyed the fellow paddlers and am sorry we missed the luncheon. We will plan better next time!

Barb Athanasiou




In reply to your questionnaire on the Juniper Springs trip: 1. Trip description was accurate. Skill level was stated in bold type. It said , "Not for inexperienced paddlers." 2. We did not tip but I feel tipping is good as it makes you aware of your skill level and the need for proper training. Tipping in a lake a mile from shore years back got my attention. 3. Destination was great. Good experience. Mickey and company have done a great job. 4. Gator Joe's is great. However, if I ate there frequently I'd be up to 300 pounds in a short time.

Ron Reif




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
I think you all do the best you can on description of conditions. I think that there were too many hidden tree trunks below the water level...even looking at the current path and anticipating where to go, left few options ...I thought the skill level should have been higher. 2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
We did tip. We were headed for a spiked palm tree and had few options. We took each narrow path slower after that. Just FYI, the park suggested that we did not have to wear PFD's...encouraged it. ALSO, MANY people did not have bailers. We stopped and lent our bailer out to several people...I know you can not insist, but it is important to carry one. How much time does it take to cut a milk jug to make a home mad bailer?

Pam Bell




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description? (I didn't think this was an intermediate type river. Maybe it was just me/us, but felt we worked very hard to navigate the river for most of the way. 2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers? (We dumped once and it was my fault. A branch caught my arm and pulled me around and then over) I sure watched for those branches more after that.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!] (Overall we enjoyed the trip and liked the beauty of the river. We were under the impression there was a beach area to stop at mid way, but didn't see this so we made our own pit stop. Might have been the dock area, but weren't sure. Fellow paddlers were all great and very helpful. Organization was good too.) 4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience? (We ate at Gator Joes and enjoyed it. Would have liked to sit as one bigg group there to talk about our experiences, but it was still nice.) We're glad we went and well go again.

Jerry & Sally Jensen




Greer and Scheer Report...We loved it...Yep, it was a little "hairy" in places and we did everything we could to tip...but managed not to...Thought trip description was thorough and for a couple of "new kids on the block"...we felt all went well...Directions for people who didn't have a clue where we were going were just fine... and we also felt welcomed...Thank you all for that... Gator Joes was a treat and we loved the old Florida
atmosphere...and after 77 years I had my first taste of "Gator Tail" and I wished I had been able to try that sooner in life. Our thanks to you and the Club Members ...I'm afraid you are stuck with us.

Barb Sheer and Dick Greer




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description? I paddle a solo canoe. I found the conditions challenging. I have a lot of experience solo paddling. I did not get wet. I led the paddle for a while. I got to a tree that was completely over the water. Since I was by myself, I took no chances and portaged around it. I later found out that one of our members in a kayak dismembered the tree allowing other paddlers to get through. The trip was advertised as intermediate. If paddlers were over confident of their ability they would have had a tough time. 2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers? You advertised the trip as I experienced it. I understand experienced paddlers went over. That was a tough river and very technically challenging. You had to be prepared at every turn of the river. 3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!] Loved the river. Although I felt I had ape arms after finishing it. 4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience? Did not stop for lunch there. I had other plans.

Rudy Pavelka




By the way, I really enjoyed the Juniper Springs trip. What with the narrowness of the river, the considerable number of and variety of obstructions, and the seemingly rain induced decent water flow, those that didn't pay attention all the time, got some surprises and some also got a little wet. Let me know if you'd like somebody to keep you company on sweep detail on any trip.

Mike Jeakle




1. At the meeting you described the trip accurately. The paddle was the best one I have been on with the club. 2. I did not tip. I used my own 10' kayak and it was the proper size for this river. 3.Everything was great and would like to go back anytime. 4.Gators was good. Thank you and everyone who works on the paddling trips.

Steve Miller




First thanks for the trip planning. As always outstanding. Q1.Trip description was accurate, describing paddling skills, ( intermediate) because of current, river width, frequent turns, and over hang branches. Q2. Near misses because of over hanging tree branches, catching on PFD, and sufficient room to bend over to clear, and under water obstacles
Q3. Even with a large group we were strung out nicely because of river width. Not just a paddle to reach put out. Although not much wild life the surroundings were beautiful. Q4. Did not stop.

Herb Wierzbach




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
I think we need to develop a rating system so that we can better describe the skill level. I wouldn't have understood the difficulty from the comment "Intermediate; Not for inexperienced paddlers…otherwise go for it! Many of our members have paddled several times yet don't really have good nagivational skills. Of course this river was very challenging, I think.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
Nope, I stayed in my boat but not sure how. I hit lots of logs/submerged stumps.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!]
Well, the organization was fantastic.. I loved the river and it's narrow intimate feel. The length of the paddle was just fine. I certainly was tired and felt like I have a good workout but wasn't as tired as I was following the Silver River run. The fellow paddlers are great people. Think everyone is willing to help others. I've been witht he club a bit over a year now and am getting to know more people, It's a great group of people who share a love of the outdoors and paddling. Wish we could come up with a solution to the shuttle issues we encounter. I really enjoy the lunches after the paddle but didn't have a chance this time.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
Had to miss this one because of theater tickets at 5:30 p.m.

Mickey




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
I thought the description adequately described the river conditions and skill required. I believe that this river just matches my skill level, although I might be prepared to try a more difficult river to test my skill.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
I almost tipped at one point, but this was due to my failure to recognise that the branches of a tree I was approaching were rigid and would not bend out of the way when I struck them. I bounced off the branches and shipped some water, this was at a point where someone else had already dumped possibly for the same reason.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!]
I enjoyed the days paddle and would gladly do it again. As you mentioned the river was very scenic and wild, the only thing which disapointed me was that I did not see much wild life, but this is nothing that the club can do anything about.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
I have eaten previously at Gator Joes and enjoyed it, I enjoyed Tuesdays meal and would eat there again.

Len Dobson




1. Both the description of the river and the level of expertise match well. 2. We didn't tip. 3. I had a great day. Beautiful weather, great scenery, a chance to spend another day outdoors - it was perfect. 4. I enjoyed Gator Joe's and would go back there again. This was my first trip with VCKC and I had a great time. Everyone seemed friendly and I am looking forward to the next trip. Thanks for doing a great job and providing us with some great opportunities.

Joe Nitto




The trip was more difficult than expected, with all the overhangs, tight turns and protruding branches. The main problem I incurred was that the lumbar support strap broke off on my kayek making it very difficult (and painful) to sit upright and paddle for four hours . Despite repeated attempts I was unable torepair it.
Despite all this, the club did a wonderful job; providing us with an opportunity to experience the REAL FLORIDA. All the effort, planning, and follow through (and especially about safety) I appreciate.
The company, fellowship and food at Gator Joe's was a perfect ending to a thrilling experience. This was my second trip - I'm looking forward to more.I'm meeting nice people. I thank you.

Bob Sellars




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
Description seemed accurate for conditions.
Places in the stream were probably equal to a class one whitewater rapid due to debris/speed. (and Monday's downpour/rainfall???)
Skill level was definitely not beginner and not advanced, so that leaves intermediate.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
WE did tip once about 3/4 down the stream.
Reason: My (stern/tandem) partner grabbed a tree he thought would "give" ??? (It didn't) LOL
Avoidance: Don't second guess the strength of debris or the water. Grab only the paddle.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters proceedures!]
Destination: Absolutely Beautimous!
Fellow Paddlers: Excellent! Helpful, encouraging, curteous and fun!
One stopped his tandem canoe, got out into the river and helped us dump and reboard ours - without being asked, too.
Two other boats assisted in saving my paddle partner's hat, also.
Trip Organization: Excellent. Went smooth.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
Thought it was fun, tasty and a great way to wrap up trip.
I would LOVE to hear the composite of this survey!!!

Liz Haage




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
I have been trying to do this run for 3 years now, and it exceeded my expectations! I consider myself an intermediate paddler, and Dianne and I had no particular problem in negotiating the run, and in fact, we helped 3 other parties who had gotten into difficulty of one kind or another. Aside from the trip description, which I thought was accurate, there are also the archived Trip Reports available on the website for a better feel of what to expect.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
Didn't tip, but from what I saw from my position on sweep, there were problems for some of the kayakers in Brack's boats, which I felt may be too long for some of the twisty turns, some of which were too narrow to properly use the paddles. There were also a couple of equipment failures on these boats, in that the seat back straps let go, leaving a very uncomfortable position to paddle from. I think the canoe flips were mostly due to snagging on some branches or entering the turns at too high a speed. The current was good and strong!

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitters procedures!]
The destination was awesome, probably the most scenic river I've ever been on in Florida. Wildlife sightings were minimal, unless we missed them due to being on the busy side!
I can't say enough about the group that took this trip. Their spirit and good humor, even in the face of some of them getting wet, was outstanding. I feel sorry for anyone who didn't have the skill or confidence to make this run. They missed an absolute gem! What a great Club!
Well, the hokey outfitters did their thing, but I don't think the group was as upset about the procedures as I was, and we did brief them on what to expect. I don't know why they can't make this simpler. We got no break in price and basically had to do everything on our own. Overall I would say the trip ran very well.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
We had very tasty meals, served promptly and reasonably. I like the place, and it's too bad that we were the last ones out of the water and didn't have a chance to share fellowship with more members.

Al & Dianne Letch




al, i again want to thank you for the wonderful 2 trips this Jan. of this year.
I hope to keep in touch and if we can work out Jan. and Feb. for next year that would be great!!

Phil Lorencz




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
Yes it was accurate. We thought we were above beginner, but we did get wet.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
Not sure. We went under a low tree that I couldn't get under and probably leaned over too far to avoid it.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitter's procedures!]
It was a beautiful trip. The fellow paddlers were great. They helped us immensely when we went over.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
Good.

Clare & Nancy Wentworth




In answer to your survey of the Juniper Springs Trip.

Bruce and I are new to the Club, this was our third paddle. We thought this trip the best to date. it was beautiful and challenging. We are looking forward to many more. We did not tip on this trip, but realize in the future we too could tip. I think the trip was very well organized, the Outfitters were professional, and the equipment good. We find fellow members to be friendly and helpful, And Gator Joe's is a great place . Atmosphere and good food.Thanks to you and the others for working hard to plan these trips.

Bruce and Barbara Murdoch




1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
The trip description was accurate and I believed my skill level was adequate to the requirements.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason, and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
I tipped! It happened so fast that it defies analysis. But, I would guess in a very, constricted portion of the stream with a low overhang, I got too close to the bank at which point the current pushed me into the bank and brush, tangling up the kayak paddle in the brush, and upsetting the kayak. To avoid tipping, stay farther away and keep the paddle clear by pointing it downstream.

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitter's procedures!]
I enjoyed the trip. My only suggestion is the kayaks from the outfitter were too long for that stream. They were a lot of work to keep steering thru the constrictions and downed trees.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?
N.A.

Jim Dooley




Hi Al - Sorry that I'm late responding to your follow up request about the Juniper Springs trip.

Question #1 - Yes, I do feel that the pre-trip descriptions of what to expect from the river and the skill level required to enjoy those conditions were very accurate. Unfortunately, I've been canoeing for many years and I felt that I knew how to interpret those descriptions (that said, even I was surprised by the number of "sweepers" and the relatively confined river surface available to negotiate those obstructions). Not sure how to bridge that potential lack of understanding on those few individuals visualizing more of a simple float type trip, versus a trip that requires the paddlers to be able to read the river and react timely and correctly. Maybe for this type of river in the future, the trip description could read - "This is an intermediate level river and as such requires paddlers to be able to read a river and be able to react timely and correctly at all times to avoid getting dumped". Some additional thoughts: - If they don't get a chance to push their limits and try something more challenging, they'll never know the joys of real canoeing vs simply drifting. - Fortunately, the make up of that river was not a real serious threat to anybody's life. The river was shallow enough and narrow enough to simply stand up and walk to the bank. Some got wet, but I don't feel any of us were in any real danger.

Question #3 - Destination - For me, the trip and the destination were great. - Other paddlers - Unfortunately, not all were capable of what the river required. - Organization - That was an awfully big group on such a narrow drawn-out river, with very limited lines of sight. Plus there were some individuals simply not up to the task. I ended up mostly working myself back and forth between two sub-groups, and with each sub-group, at times we seemed completely isolated and not a part of 50+ person outing. I feel that it was the inexperienced individuals and not so much the river that got the group strung out. I've never been on that river before, consequently while I could tell by the flow and the tree line in the open areas that we were ok, I didn't know how to respond when one individual was seriously questioning whether in fact we had made a wrong turn, and if we were still on the same course as everybody else. Under similar circumstances in the future, you could possibly try breaking into smaller groups and have an experienced individual keep all members of that group together at all times (a bit of a buddy system). Other than that, you could possibly try to have some of the more experienced paddlers work their way up and back amongst all the paddlers, giving all the participants a feeling of more connectedness. Sure hate to have one canoe / kayak zig when we all zaged, and still be off course when the sweeps went through. But I felt there needed to be some way of giving more continuity and visual contact with the entire string of participants. Question

#4 - Gator Joe's That was my first time to Gator Joe's and I thought it was pretty good. The very size of the group really strung us out when returning to the put-in point. That hurt because we couldn't all go to Gator Joe's together. But then again, if we all showed up at the same time, Gator Joe's probably couldn't have seated all of us anyway. Take Care

Mike Jeakle




Al,
Yes, that was some canoe trip....here are some observations. First, we were very grateful for our Old Town Canoe...for a fast current and winding turns and sometimes bank to bank richochet (sic) it was pretty stable....at no time did we feel it might go out from under us...except one time when we approached one of those nubbins-- sawed off trees over the stream and I couldn't steer through it right...got Gerry right in the temple and pushed her into the canoe...fortunately we didn't have our wooden back rests on at the time or it would've been really bad.
Second I think this may be the only trip we've had where we were both paddling all the time...but I guess this is what you mean when there should be experienced paddlers but all in all we enjoyed the paddle and the work out ...it was just what we needed, having had lotsa company down from the north.
Yes, Gator Joe's was good...just the right informality for the club.
Thanks,Al and Dianne, for all your efforts, especially on this trip.

Jack and Gerry Brewster




Al,
I did not go back and review the trip report but my recollection is that it was pretty much right on target. The current and the fallen trees provided many opportunities for spills, especially for the beginners. And it did appear that we had a few that may have been in "over their heads". Pardon the pun. However, the river, the scenary, and the paddlers were great. Even the poor fellows that were floundering seemed to enjoy themselves and I don't think anyone was in any serious situation. Thanks for all your work.

Pete Nicholas




We've been out of town so here's our reply regarding the Juniper Springs trip.

1. Does the trip description accurately describe the conditions found and skill level suggested? How do you feel your skill level matches the description?
I think the description would have been perfect HAD WE READ IT FIRST. My husband went to the meeting and thought this would be a good trip without knowing anything about what we were getting into.

2. If you did tip, what do you feel was the reason and what should, (or did), you do to avoid repeat turnovers?
If you ask me, I'd say it was him. If you ask him, he'd say it was me. But actually it was a slight current that threw us to the left shore and the limbs pushed us over. The water was COLD. Soooo thankful to have had people close by to help us right the canoe and get back in. Thanks to you guys !!!!

3. What were your overall impressions of the destination, your fellow paddlers and the organization of the trip? [We know about the hokey outfitter's procedures!]
Since this was our FIRST time, everyone was exceptionally nice and helpful to us. Especially the lady who loaned me some warm clothes as we finished. Super lady! Certainly everything seemed well organized. Knowing that the description on the website is of upmost importance, had we read that first we might not have taken this trip. We would have waited for a more calm trip that would more be suitable for beginners. But we still thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterwards, we enjoyed laughing with everyone about their experiences as well as ours. Overall, this was a fun trip. Bottom line - inexperienced - both of us.

4. If you had a chance to eat at Gator Joes, how would you rate that experience?

We really liked Gator Joe's.

PJ and Bob Barnes




The preceding reports represent about 2/3 of the paddlers on the Juniper Springs trip January 23. It was a terrific outing, and despite difficulties, the members did a great job of recovering and carrying on. We commend them for their spirit and stamina!

Our goal is to “Enjoy the river”!

Last update Thursday, April 10, 2008



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