A lazy trip down the Suwannee River for Mother’s Day weekend
We booked this trip as a group months ago and the trip fell apart. I was not about to cancel as I love going down the Suwannee River. KC didn’t want to cancel either so we teamed up – booked a canoe for the trip and headed out Friday afternoon for White Springs. We arrived early enough to complete our next hike for the Trailwalker Program – Big Shoals. What a beautiful rugged trail. We arrived at the park to be greeted by a large “Swamp-Monster”. After taking pictures with the big fella we headed for the trail head. It was a beautiful hike along the river and there were many places to stop and take photos. The rapids or shoals were enormous! The river was so wide and so loud it drowned out all other sound around us. After spending some time taking photos there we headed back to the trailhead and off to American Canoe Adventures (www. aca1.com ) John met us there and got us all checked into the campground and took us to his “favorite spot”. The campsite was right on Swift Creek and only ½ a mile away from where it met the Suwannee River! We hurriedly set up camp so we could take photos and the hike to the end of the creek to take even more photos! The location where the two met was breathtaking! Limestone walls were carved over 2 stories deep and the Creek was just pouring into the River! There was a beach on the far side that was long, white and beautiful. Wild Blackberries were everywhere and many were already ripe and sweet!
After the hike we drove into town for a super yummy meal at Fat Bellies – Very good catfish and BBQ! Driving back into camp we spooked a deer and noticed there were lots of lightning bugs…that proved to be an understatement! As we started the fire and settled in the forest lit up like the 4th of July – hundreds upon hundreds of fireflies appeared to be performing just for us! In all my years I have never seen so many in one place! Morning would come quickly and soon we fast asleep.
Saturday we were awakened to a chorus of songbirds, the rippling creek and gentle breezes flowing through the leaves of the trees above us. We packed up camp – loaded the transport van with our gear and we headed for the Hwy 41 Bridge. What a beautiful day for a paddle. The river was about 12ft lower than my last trip here and there was so much more to see! There were more limestone caves and streams coming into the river and many more beaches. We stopped at one beautiful beach for a swim and a nap in the sun. The water was perfect and just what was in order to cool us down for the rest of our trip to Woods Ferry. We arrived early to Wood Ferry and got all settled in one of their wonderful screen pavilions. The ceiling fan was a welcome treat! We chatted with the camp hosts for a while then took more photos from the dock. The rest of the afternoon we napped and listened to the rolling thunder of a large storm that never hit us. More fireflies and whippoorwills set us up for a wonderful night’s sleep.
Sunday Morning – Mother’s Day – we got on the river early. We were the only ones out! For hours we did not see anyone. We had only seen 4 persons the day before so we did not expect to see too many. There were some fishermen and a couple families playing on beaches later on Sunday, but the morning was ours. The trip from Wood Ferry to Spirits of the Suwannee is the prettier leg of the trip to me! We took our time and really enjoyed all that was around us. We saw turtles and squirrels and even a few fish jumped up to see us. Too soon we arrived at the end of our paddle but the trip was not over. I had promised KC that the Teford Hotel (http://telfordhotel.net/) had an amazing buffet so we headed there for lunch after getting all settled with ACA. What a beautiful old hotel and the food is always wonderful! I highly recommend this wonderful location! We also made a quick stop into the visitors’ center and soon we were on our way home. It was a fantastic weekend – I wish you could have been there with us. My photos do not do the river justice at all.
Until next time…..