Withlacoochee River Trip Reprot

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Ted and Joanne Wendel | VCKC
Published Monday, August 23, 2004

Date: 23 August 2004

Number of Paddlers: 15 (See Other Trip Issues below) in 3 Rental Canoes, 2 Rental Kayaks and 6 Private Boats

Travel Time from Mulberry Recreation Center: 1+hr

Trip Length: 10 miles or 3 hrs to include rest stop. Put-in at 9:30 AM (See Other Trip Issues below)

Boat Rentals and Park Fee:

Nobleton Boat Rental www.nobletoncanoes.com 1.800.783.5284, Nobleton, FL. Charge (with discount coupon) was $33 per canoe and $30 per single kayak and included shuttle service. Private boat owners paid $5 to park they did not elect to have the Outfitter transport their boats (a $20 charge) so they arranged got their special transportation needs.

Car Shuttle:

Only two vehicles traveled directly to the Outfitter. See Other Trip Issues.

Air Temperature and Weather Condition:

It was in the mid 80s with moderate humidity and partly sunny skies at Put-In and throughout the trip. Near the end of the trip we thought we were going to be hit with a thunderstorm - it didn't happen.

The River and Terrain:

At Silver Lake, you paddle to your left, under the bridge and enter the Withlacoochee (With). At the early part of the trip and at other times in the paddle, the With was wider than some of the recent rivers that we have paddled, but it narrowed at times that allowed it to take on some mystery. The water was tea colored and we could not see into it to determine depth. The terrain was somewhat wild but not as the Ocklawaha. We did not pass signs of civilization until the latter part of the trip when we paddled by riverside homes. We thought that the water level was high (we have had a lot of recent rains) and we passed flooded areas of Cyprus Knees that looked like what my wife and I would expect Bayou country to be - it was strangely beautiful. The stillness of the water made for a mirror image reflection of the trees, sky and paddlers as shown by the header and below photos. The current was mild but appeared more visible and stronger around curves. During the early part of the trip we encountered a large downfall that looked like it blocked the entire width of the river (it was somewhat narrower at that point) but upon closer inspection we found a narrow passage around it, my big excitement.

We came upon Hog Island quicker than anticipated. My wife and I along with 2 other boats steered right, as per instructions given at the meeting, and found a delightful landing for a break, the site had a picnic table and seemed to be set-up for a large group outing. The other paddlers steered left, missed the landing but all caught up later on. There were two decision points on the river that are not on the map we had - we followed the current and didn't have problems.

My sources claim that the distance between Silver Lake and Nobleton is 10 miles but it seemed to me to be more like 8. I base this on paddling the distance with a very mild current well within 3 hrs and not paddling all that strongly.

I prefer rivers that are wild, narrow, challenging and make me feel like I am in some distant land. This was pleasant river but not one that stimulated my imagination.

Other Trip Issues:

Put-In was delayed an hour due to the private boat owners arriving late claiming the directions were not clear and this will be a topic for board discussion. One rental canoe suffered from bad leaks within feet of the Put-In and the two paddlers immediately returned to shore and drove to the outfitter who refused to refund their rental - I spoke to the outfitter who apologized for any “misunderstanding” and assured me that refund would be made. At the end of the trip I learned that one kayaker flipped into the river but she handled the situation well and continued the trip after she pumped out her boat.

Wildlife Sightings:

We saw some large herons and turtles but not many. I thought I saw a small alligator swimming against the current but it may have been a branch.

Difficulty Rating:

There was no difficulty to this river. Again, it was a pleasant river to be on - it was also very picturesque.


Ted and Joanne Wendel

Last update Thursday, April 10, 2008

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