Withlacoochee Trip Report

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Jerry Lester
Published Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Villages Canoe and Kayak Club
Trip Report - Withlacoochee, May 27 & 28, 2008

Canoes - 5
Single Kayaks -  13
Tandem Kayaks - 3
PBOs - 10                                              
Canoes - 5
Single Kayaks - 10
Tandem Kayaks - 1
PBO's - 6                                         

TRAVEL TIME: 50 minutes - 40 miles  This was a perfect trip for car pooling.
TRIP LENGTH: 7.5 miles - approximately 3.5 hours

My GPS had satellite contact all the way and recorded 7.9 miles and 3 hrs and 51 minutes, but I was next to last to take out. (Jerry)

BOAT RENTALS: Nobleton Outpost provided all rental boats for this trip. Equipment was in good condition, but some paddlers were not comfortable in their choice of boats (sit-on vs sit-in). Some complaints of lack of sufficient back rest on sit-on models. No other boat related concerns raised to me after the trip. Convenient location as the put-in was right at the outfitter's location. (Gary)  
Based on Gary's comments, I advised my group to check out their boat to make sure everything was OK. We found one loose backrest, but as far as I know, all the other equipment was fine and in good condition. (Al)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny skies and warm temperatures in the upper 80's to low 90's. Continuous breeze helped with the heat, but we were paddling into the wind which made it a "wash"!. (Gary)
 Our day was even better, with only occassional, (welcome), breezes.
THE RIVER/TERRAIN/SCENERY/WILDLIFE: The trip was disappointing; with low water levels, weed and grass overgrowth making paddling more difficult, stagnant or polluted sections creating unpleasant orders and minimal wildlife sightings (couple of gators and turtles). The scenery wasn't bad in undeveloped areas, but shabby residential sections detracted from the trip. (Gary)
My group had been warned aout the weeds and all, so we had a good idea as to what to expect. Most people were pretty tired at the end, but all in good spirits and most expressed satisfaction with the paddle. As has been the case, wildlife sightings were minimal, except for a lot of jumping fish and a couple of gators. It was such a pretty, perfect day, it made for a nice outing.  (Al)
GROUP ENJOYMENT AND DIFFICULTY: It wasn't a technically difficult paddle, but lack of current, weed overgrowth and wind made it a more strenuous trip than most people expected. It probably added a half hour in time to the total length of trip. However, paddlers were in good humor at the conclusion, supporting the saying that "any day on the water is a good day." 
I would only consider this paddle option again after much rain to substantially raise the water level and clean the river of overgrowth and pollutants. (Gary)
I basically agree with Gary on this run. There was little or no current, but with little or no wind, we didn't have as much difficulty in skimming through and over the weeds. It is my understanding that there is a dam closed down river, which would make everything to the south slow down to a crawl. This would also contribute to the weed growth. (Al)
LUNCH STOP/RESTAURANT: At the conclusion of paddle Nobleton Outfitters (Corrine) transported us back to their outpost on the riverfront where we had lunch and drinks. Their choices of lunch items were minimal and several people left to eat elsewhere. The majority that stayed were happy with the sandwich and salad choices, as well as the ambience of the restaurant location. The outfitter is a pleasure to work with and we will probably continue to do the southern section of the river in the future.  (Gary)
Once again Gary's information prepared us for the offerings at the restaurant, and all but a handful put in their order prior to the paddle. The food was tasty and quickly delivered, and the beer was icy cold! It was a nice spot to relax after the paddle, but more choices would have been better. (Al)
SUBMITTED BY: Gary Brady & Al Letch

Last update Saturday, May 31, 2008

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