Silver River Trip Report


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Al Letch | VCKC
Published Tuesday, March 28, 2006

NUMBER OF PADDLERS: 64 (19 Rental Canoes, 13 Rental single Kayaks, 13 in private boats).

TRAVEL TIME: From Mulberry Center to Ray's Wayside Landing took only 35-40 minutes.

TRIP LENGTH: The trip from Ray's Wayside Landing to the Silver Springs attraction area is about 5 miles each way. Those that completed the entire trip took between 3 and 4 ½ hours. Almost everyone completed the trip, but all did what distance they were comfortable with.

BOAT RENTALS:

Equipment was provided by Bruce Beckwith of Florida Pack & Paddle. He was on time with the equipment and entry into the river was an easy and orderly process. He has 4 new Wenonah Kevlar canoes, along with his fiberglass canoes and kayaks. All appeared to be in decent condition. Extra Kayaks were provided by Brack Barker of Wild Florida Adventures, whose service was excellent.

WEATHER CONDITIONS:

We could not have asked for a better day, with temperatures in the 60's to start, only going to the upper 70's as we went along. Picture perfect!

THE RIVER and TERRAIN:

The Silver is one of the favorite paddles for Club Members, and this trip did not disappoint. There was a fairly strong current provided by the hundreds of millions of gallons of spring waters, but certainly not overwhelming to most paddlers. It was a bit of a push up stream, but a large percentage stuck to it and made the full trip. Others realized their limits, and turned back after a good day's outing. All were rewarded with the magnificent scenery of the Silver. It was not difficult to imagine that it appears now as it must have a thousand years ago; a wild and beautiful place, untouched by development.
The exception, of course, is the Silver Springs Attraction, but even that was kind of neat, as we paddled among the glass bottom boats and over the head waters of the incredibly clear springs. You could see down 80 feet or more like looking through glass.
We were surprised to encounter a significant number of power boats on the river, (it must be Spring Break time), but they were courteous and gave plenty of way.

WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:

There were many beautiful birds, including hawks, ibis, herons, anhinga, turkey buzzards, cormorants and more. Fish were jumping all over the place, and we saw lots of gar, bass and smaller fish. We spotted at least 6 major sized gators, including 1 that swam right under a boat! There as a large group of monkeys along the shore, much to the delight of all that saw them. Turtles were sunning themselves all along the river.

GROUP ENJOYMENT AND DIFFICULTY:

This has to rank among our best outings, combining a great group, terrific weather and lots of wildlife sightings. It was not an easy paddle, fighting a pretty strong current up stream, but the return trip was much less difficult. We were happy enough to call it a day and head for the restaurant!

Our lunch stop was at the Island Seafood Eatery on Route 40 near Silver Spring. The food was very good and reasonable, including a 32 oz beer mugs! What a great way to end up a perfect trip!

ON THE DOWN SIDE

A word to the wise! Some members neglected to leave the tab from their parking envelope on their dash and ended up with tickets!

At the end of the trip, Club members assisted with helping a couple and their dog that we met canoeing along. The gentleman was very sick, and barely made it up onto shore. We called 911 and the EMT's responded with care and ambulance transportation to an Ocala Hospital. We certainly wish them the best over what appeared to be a heart problem. Apparently, he had undergone bypass surgery about 5 months ago. This might be a good lesson to all of us old coots that we need to consider our age and condition before overdoing it!

Thanks to a great group of paddlers who participated on this trip, and also to Mickey Jenson, Barb Bickley and Peggy Hobbs who made all the arrangements for our trip. It was satisfying to see that our new members had such a great time, and we hope that we will see them again out on the rivers of Florida!

Al Letch

Last update Friday, April 11, 2008



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