Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More Paddling Along the Shoal River

After canoeing on the Shoal River from Hwy 90 to Hwy 85 we decided we wanted to continue along the Shoal until it converges with the Yellow River.

My Dad wanted to go as well so on Sunday we loaded our canoe and kayaks into the trailer and off we went.

We met Dad at Bill Duggan, Jr Park on Hwy 85, which is where we pulled out last time, and then took his truck to Little Gin Hole Landing on the Yellow River, where we planned to end our trip.

We parked his truck and then drove ours back to the park and set out on our journey.





Under the Hwy 85 bridge and into undeveloped, true Florida.







The river was gorgeous and had just enough current to push us along so we only had to paddle around some of the logs in the river.

Floating down the river, with my Dad, husband and kids was amazing.












The Island Girl took off ahead of us and as she came around a bend she surprised a small group of wild hogs drinking from the river. They saw her and took off through the woods making all kinds of racket.

You can definitely tell the difference between a hog running through the woods and a deer because deer can be very quiet – hogs however have no sense of stealth whatsoever.

The river was high so there weren't any sandbars to stop on and about lunch time we decided we might be eating in the swamp with our boats shoved up against a Cypress knee.

Which is when we came around a bend and saw a pretty cool camp at the river's edge.

And just around the corner we saw this





There were no No Trespassing signs so we pulled up and had lunch on the picnic table.






There was a well worn path between the picnic area and the camp just around the bend so after lunch we followed it to get a better look.

I would love to have a nice party spot right on the river like this. Because we were on private property I didn't take pictures of the camp but it was really cool and looked like the perfect spot for parties.

And this bridge over the slough is exactly what we need over the creek at Tower Camp.






After lunch we got back on the river and continued our journey.

Well, we were ready to continue on when the Island Girl leaned a little too far over in her kayak and ended up in the river.

The current immediately took the kayak so she was trying to catch it while I scrambled for her paddle.

It took us a minute but she caught the yak, I caught the paddle and she was back in the boat, wet but laughing hysterically.



After another hour or so of wilderness we came across a small group of fish camps. Some of them are strictly camps but others are year round homes.





About four hours after we launched we reached the convergence where the Shoal river flows into the Yellow river.

Everyone else kept paddling but I sat for a while, watching the two rivers merge.



Our pull out spot was another tenth of a mile or so and when I finished watching the rivers meet I paddled on down to join the rest of our group and pull the boats out.

It took us about 4 hours to ease down the river, really only needing to paddle around some of the log jams.

Tired but happy we loaded our boats and headed home.

Slowly but surely we're meeting my goal of paddling the rivers in Northwest Florida – one by one - section by section.




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