June 21, 2017

The Sipsey is definitely a “destination” river, meaning it was worth the trip to north Alabama just for this river.  If not for a fortunate twist of fate, however, Susan and I would never have paddled the Sipsey River, and we would have missed out on the stunning views and experience it offered.  As we looked down at the scenic river on that sunny June day, it was obvious that the water level was too low for us to paddle.  The...

March 20, 2017

There were strong northerly winds the day of our trip down the Sopchoppy River, but while we heard the wind gusting above us, barely any breeze ever made its way down to us on the water.

March 9, 2017

There aren’t that many deep spots on the section of Turkey Creek above the Hippie Hole, but the solo canoe was upside down and pretty much completely underwater in one of them. The canoe’s would-be paddler was futilely trying to lift the submerged boat out of the water. Given that the canoe is 15 feet long, 32 inches wide, and 18 inches deep, and one cubic feet of water weighs 64 pounds, I’d calculate that it weighed -- wel...

March 2, 2017

Question:  What do buffalo, manatees, wild hogs, bald eagles, goosebumps, sunning alligators, beaver lodges, sandhill cranes, deer, and wild horses have in common?  Answer:  These are all things you can see near Payne’s Prairie State Park, just south of Gainesville, FL.  And, yes, we did, in fact, see all of these things, and more, during a family outing to Payne’s Prairie State Park over the long President’s Day weekend....

February 24, 2017

Thirteen paddlers from opposite directions of the compass meeting at a place called Murder Creek on a chilly Saturday with temperatures starting in the 30s – what could go wrong?   I had just parked my truck after running the shuttle, and my wife ran up to me declaring, “We’ve had an incident!”  My thought was “Really, already?”

We were paddling the twelve-mile section of Murder Creek from CR 6 in Castleberry down to the n...

January 19, 2017

A few years back, two women in their early 20s started out on what they hoped would be a peaceful, overnight trip on the Blackwater River right around the beginning of a very chilly New Year. The ladies had been on the river before, but they weren’t prepared for the high water levels that were the result of recent, heavy rains. Two days later, I was out on the river looking for any signs of their canoe or gear.

December 19, 2016

OK, I’ll admit it:  I’ve never been a big fan of the Yellow River.  It’s wide; it’s muddy, and it has really long straightaways – kind of like a small version of the Mississippi River.  Lately, however, I’ve been giving the Yellow River a second chance and have visited a couple of spots I’ve never been to before.  I’ve actually enjoyed both the scenery and the paddling, and I wish I’d scouted there sooner.  So am I finally gai...

December 14, 2016

Before the downpour our biggest concern with a Coldwater Creek trip was dragging in the shallows, but now that definitely wouldn't be an issue.  Our long drought in my area of the Panhandle came to an end with a deluge of more than six inches of rain over two days.  The volume of water flowing down nearby Coldwater Creek promptly went up by 500%.  We needed the rain, but this was a bit much to pour on us all at once.

November 21, 2016

Before we started our 10-mile journey that would include Turkey-Hen Creek, the last stretch of the Shoal River, and just a touch of the Yellow River, I’d heard reports that there might not be any open route through the swampy Shoal River cutoff.  There was only one way to tell for sure.

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