Peace River – 24 mile day trip May 31, 2011
I was contacted not long ago by a retired Air Force Vet that
was interesting in providing guide services for Not a Clue Adventures. Mike
seemed like a great guy over the phone and he had extensive knowledge in hiking
the Grand Canyon. We made arrangements to meet up on the Weeki Wachee and soon
Mike and his wife DiDi were on-board. I needed to spend a little time getting
to know Mike and see how he would handle a strenuous trip so I set up a 24 mile
paddle for a beautiful Monday afternoon.
We had just recently paddled the Peace River over 2 days
doing this same section of the river. I need to get back on the river to scout
out some of the better beaches and check water levels again. We got a late
start that morning as I for some reason can find my way through the woods but
not down the well marked highway. We got on the river about 9 am and it was
already getting hot. My biggest concern was going to be holiday traffic on the river.
My fears were soon put to rest as we saw not a soul all day. Everyone that had
braved the low water and high temps must have been far ahead of us!
I was looking for a specific beach and a very special tree
we had stopped at just a few weeks before. There were lots of sharks teeth to
be found there and one very photogenic young hawk. We found the beach a couple
hours after launching and yes the hawk soon found us. What a beauty this young raptor
was. Soon a sibling flew in as well and delighted us as we took many photos.
They were far from mature and still a bit clumsy when hunting, but a great joy
I learned that Mike was a Florida native, yet had never
found a sharks tooth. That all changed
with his first try sifting sand through his colander. Bingo, he was hooked! We
spent the rest of the afternoon stopping every now and then to observe the
wildlife, learn more about each other’s experience and backgrounds and looking
for more shark teeth. Of course with the extremely low water we also spent time
dragging our kayaks through 2 inch deep water.
It was a long day of paddling and about 3:45 we were
floating down the river lines on both sides by cattle pasture. Now these cows
have an understandable fear of people – these are beef cattle. At first sight
of us they took off bellowing. Now cows are not an animal that by any means can
be considered graceful. When they got to running Mike and I got to laughing. And
we had many opportunities for a chuckle! Due to the low water we had cows on
both sides of the river and they all wanted to get back on the east side when
they saw us. We had many cross the water just in front of us. That was quite a
sight. As the shadows grew longer and the sun dipped closer to the horizon the
wildlife started coming out of the forest. We saw many deer come to the river
for a drink. Even a doe was spotted with her 2 spotted fawns as we rounded a
turn in the river. What a magical day it had turned out to be.
Mike turned out to be a real blessing for our company and
his wife DiDi is quite an asset as well. We welcome them to our team and hope
that all of you get a chance to meet them. We will be planning hike, providing backpacking
training and some intense backpacking trips this fall, when it cools off. Look
for more information on these trips on our website at http://www.notaclueadventures.com
or check us out on facebook.
We hope to see you on the trail soon!