Ocklawaha River Trip Report

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Ted Wendel | VCKC
Published Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Date: July 24, 2007


Number of Paddlers: There were approximately 26 in rental canoes, (Florida Pack and Paddle), and private boats participating in this trip. Note: We had approximately 10 cancellations, some without notification to club officials, including one couple who cancelled the day prior to the trip but had not paid for the rental. We need to enforce club policy on trip payments, (no boat reservation until payment is received and 48 hour cancellation policy to ensure refunds). Last minute cancellations also affect other members who may have wanted to participate but could not because of rental boat availability.

Travel Directions: Directions were accurate, and there were no known instances of members getting lost. Our member shuttle came off without problems.

Weather: At the rally point, (Mulberry Recreation Center), the sky was overcast, and we all kept our fingers crossed. Shortly after put-in we encountered about 15 minutes of a somewhat light and, in my opinion, refreshing rain. Cloud cover kept the sun, heat and humidity down, and temperatures were in the low 80s. Weather wise, it wasn't a bad summer morning to be on the river.

River Conditions: At the put-in a local informed us that a tree was down across the river, but we couldn't determine where and how bad it was. The trip leader Gary Brady sent some experienced paddlers ahead to check things out. Shortly after put-in we did hit two areas with large trees down on the river, but they didn't block the river so navigating around them wasn't difficult.

As has been our experience on this section of the Ock, it's a beautiful wilderness trip running through The Ocala National Forest. The current (3+ mph) makes for an easy paddle, and all enjoyed their look at passing scenery. Most of us took advantage of a spacious take-out spot about three-quarters of the way into the trip. It is on the right side and is marked by rope swings.

Wildlife Sightings: The wildlife was relatively sparse, though there were a couple of alligator sightings. Otherwise, the only wildlife most saw where the ever present Alligator Gar (Fish) some appearing more than 3 feet long.

Outfitter: Bruce Beck with of Florida Pack and Paddle continues to offer good equipment at very reasonable rates. My paddle partner (Jerry Lester) and I were in one of his newer Wenonah canoes, which was comfortable and easy to paddle. The only drawback is that the contoured seats will not accept the type of seat-back I have.

After Trip Lunch: Rondo's Restaurant continues to impress with its good food. My paddle partner (Jerry Lester) suggested the Carolina BBQ sandwich, which after devouring, I can heartily endorse!

Paddle Safely,

Ted Wendel

Last update Thursday, April 10, 2008

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