A November 2006 trip
to Tallahassee by nomadcheryl
Quote: It's a great base for canoing, kayaking and hiking the springs, creeks, swamps, and forests in this less traveled corner of Florida.
The river begins about twenty miles east of Tallahassee - US 27 to Highway 59 and it's just south of the intersection. There are few river runs that rival this one. Don't be put off by the map showing Hell's Half Acre - it's easy to avoid -stay in the channel. Lots of springs and lots of birds (and fish)! It's mostly a National Wildlife Refuge on one side and a timber company owns the other side so once away from the head spring you will see only a couple of docks in the first mile then it's all yours to the take out (14 miles downstream). You can easily turn around and paddle back to your put in though if you don't want to shuttle. There are plenty of outfitters who will help with the shuttle if you don't have two cars. Walking back might work if it's not hunting season but it's not the optimal choice. Camping is allowed about 9 miles down at Goose Pasture (closed to camping during hunting season). The last five miles below Goose Pasture are beautiful, however, the guidebooks caution that you can get lost. We went in November and perhaps because the foliage is less dense then we had no trouble at all. Another factor is the sign that points to the Slave Canal (a critical point) was in place. Apparently some of the locals like to take it down.
Our first time here, we had read in a guidebook about an island a couple of miles down with a good camping spot-it was perfect - the only problem- that night we were awakened by a woman screaming right outside our tent - it was a limpkin - a bird whose call sounds like a woman's scream. That'll wake you up. It turns out the guidebook was outdated and camping no longer allowed as it's a NWR now- as the officer kindly pointed out to us at 7am the next morning. He just asked us to leave - and said the locals keep removing the signs he puts up - maybe they take them home to practice their reading?
You can put in at Goose Pasture for a shorter run, or put in at the takeout - which is on the Aucilla River! The two rivers are joined by the Slave Canal - built by slaves in the 1800s to make it easier to get cotton to the Gulf for shipment to the northern mills. The canal is clear and shallow and goes through a gorgeous swamp. There are some pullovers along the way so if you have not tried those before - you're in for a treat. There were five the last time we were there but water levels vary - it had been dry during a wetter time there will be fewer pullovers.
We saw several types of woodpeckers - including the pileated. Also bald eagles, green herons, great blue herons, snowy egrets, little blue herons and lots of limpkins.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 30, 2007
Jacksonville , Florida