Another great trip on a great river and a really great weekend!
I didn’t have a thermometer but I’m guessing the temp ranged from a high in the low 90’s to the mid 70’s around dawn. With a full and high canopy cover from the oak, hickory and locust trees for shade, together with a very gentle but steady breeze from the adjacent Santa Fe River, we were all very comfortable. It was universally agreed that you can camp in Florida in the middle of August – and be comfortable!
Looking across the site at the river approach
Very importantly – Gumbo made sure everyone was well fed as everyone hung out at the base camp tarp with the portable table and chairs! The beauty of kayak camping is that you can get away from civilization and still carry enough gear with you to be civilized.
Friday morning Gumbo and I put in at Rum Island for an easy, down-river run to the site whose name we still don’t know for sure. One of the many passers-by who stopped to swim in the adjacent underwater cave suggested the name of Super Secret Site – which I shortened to S-3.
This is the side of our site. The lighter area is ~3' deep. The dark area is ?' deep underwater cave.
The Santa Fe River is fed by 26 first magnitude, underground springs so it’s always full, always clear, and always around 72*. Having 72* water on two sides of our site helped keep us cool.
The site is free but you have to call the water district mgmt folks to make a reservation which is good for all their property along the river. The site itself boasts an large, old brakedrum as a firepit. That concludes the list of modern amenities.
On the other hand, the trees were perfect for hanging – lots of good spots to choose from.
This was the view from inside Gumbo's hammock.
I think it was Dutch who advised hanging over water because it's cooler. He's right!
Also undergrowth was not a problem and litter was minimal. We still took a few minutes to gather up a small bag of trash that we ported out when we left.
Wildlife was limited to a handful of banana spiders (whom we credit with keeping the mosquitoes to near zero!), one wolf spider (don’t tell JohnnyWalker), but no raccoons or armadillos or other problematic critters. On the river there were lots of egrets, ibises, turtles, bass and mullets (lots of mullets around Ginnie Springs ), one owl and one alligator (~7-8’).
RichtorFla and Susie as well as with JohnnyWalker and Duffy arrived Saturday (along with four honored guests who joined us for a few hours). Duffy and Johnny got a little fishing in. I don’t believe that any of the fish in the river are any worse off for the experience.
This trip also gave me a chance to do some field testing. First: we just got a 12’x14’ tarp from Coleman (for $50) with which we are very pleased. Second: I got to set up my two-hammocks-from-two-trees idea. I’ll post details of the findings on another thread, but in short – it was a mostly successful test.
Sunday came all too soon and...
Sigh... time to head home...
The river flows fast and smooth so the downriver kayaking was easy. The weather was perfect – not too hot, and the rain was imperceptibly brief. And the company was all most congenial. So all in all, it would be hard to imagine a more perfect weekend trip! Gumbo and I certainly plan to frequent S-3 on the Santa Fe in the future!