Wekiva River Trip Report


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Ted Wendel | VCKC
Published Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Date: 27 February 2007

Location: Wekiva Springs State Park to Katies Landing

Number of Paddlers: 41

Boats Rentals: 10 canoes, 5 tandem kayaks, 6 single kayaks and 7 private boats.

Travel Time from La Hacienda Center: An hour and a quarter, per the directions in the destination report, and carpooling worked well. The private boat owners did their own shuttle, due to the high cost offered by the outfitter, but ran into extensive traffic delays along the way. See notes below for more information

Trip Length: Approx 8 Miles

Outfitter:

The Wekiva Springs State Park concessionaire had sufficient number of boats for our numbers. The canoes and tandem kayaks were comfortable and stable boats but .the solo kayaks were too short and narrow for our members on a trip of this duration. I would not recommend these (solo) kayaks for future trips. Shuttle service was a welcomed surprise since our last trip experience. A new crew took over operations with mostly positive results. The shuttle bus held approximately 28 passengers and there were two 12 to 15 passengers for overflow. The only downside was the $25 fee the outfitter wanted to shuttle private boats and passengers back to the park at the end of the shuttle, resulting in the shuttle problems stated above. We would suggest trying to bargain with the outfitter prior to the next trip in an attempt to secure a more reasonable rate for private boats owners.

Weather Conditions:

At the check in, the sky really looked like we were going to get heavy rains, but we took a chance that the skies would clear and headed off. Rains hit us on the trip down, but our hopes were proven right as we got nearer the park and saw hints of blue sky. The rain ended, and the weather proved near perfect for our paddle. Temps were just at Eighty degrees with enough clouds to block the sun, and we were cooled by a nice breezed during most of the trip.

The River and Terrain:

The river continues to show signs of improving after the storms of a couple of years ago and was in even better condition than last year's trip. The anticipated downfall and its resulting navigational problems did not occur, making for a relatively easy paddle. The last mile of the trip, when the river widens and becomes shallower, allow the winds to play more of a factor. To me, this is well worth the price of enjoying this wild and scenic river.

Wildlife Sightings:

The majority of us saw six to eight large sized alligators, including one whose head was visible just after the put in, and another 6 to 7 footer sunning on the branch of a tree about a foot above the water. The largest my wife and I spotted was on a quick side trip we made around a small island. We passed a 10 to 11 footer about 10 feet from us and keeping a careful eye on us as we paddled by. Additionally, we were greeted by groups of Egrets, Herrin, Duck, Osprey and Cormorants. There were many groups of turtles on fallen trees taking in the day's sun, and some mentioned spotting otters in the water.

Group Enjoyment and Difficulty Rating:

With the exception of the shallow and somewhat more difficult to paddle on the last section of the river just before the Route 46 bridge, we received nothing but words of satisfaction about the Wekiva! With the improved conditions, I would rate future trips as “for beginner paddlers”, but the shallow section does require physical endurance.

Lunch Stop:

Our after paddle stop at El Porto Mexican Restaurant received well-deserved praise for its great and quick service and food offered for a reasonable price. I would highly recommend this for future trips on the Wekiva.

Ted Wendel

Last update Thursday, April 10, 2008



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