Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Orlando (okay, nearrr Orlando)
Hammock: Chrysalis (an ENO DN sometimes)
Tarp: The 4 Hats Hilton
Insulation: DIY Wunder Sling
Santa Fe River (Central FL) Aug 19 - 21 Trip Report
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!
So many trees, so little time...
We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,
His friends and merry men are we;
And when the troop of Tarleton rides,
We burrow in the cypress tree.
The turfy hammock is our bed,
Our home is in the red deer's den,
Our roof, the tree-top overhead,
For we are wild and hunted men.
Last edited by Timberrr; 08-21-2011 at 23:51..
Agreed what a nice weekend! The Sante Fe River offers some of (if not the best) paddling in Florida.
There were two things that really surprised me during the trip. The first was when we put in and got on the river around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, I was delighted to discover that there was a slight breeze on the river making travel during the peak of the day not only bearable but pleasant! The second was the decided lack of mosquitoes buzzing around my hammock net. My two biggest concerns of the trip, both turn out to be a non issue.
I sense an annual August trip in the making! I just don't think I could pass up the opportunity to hang there again.
Great trip report of what looks to be a great trip!
I'm very surprised you didn't either sweat to death or get devoured by mosquitoes.
I think you all had a lot of guts just to get out there.
Thrilled to hear that you had a such a fantastic weekend.
P.S. Timberrr, I think you ought to pack some valium for the next trip, in case you get more hyper - just sayin'
"Life is a Project!"
Prefers life at 12 MPH.
That looks awfully pretty. I'm glad you folks managed to make it out, and rather annoyed with myself that I wasn't able to go.
Looks like you had a good time!
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Hammock: Lite Owl; Light Hiker
Tarp: Toxaway;MacCat Dlx
Insulation: Burrow; Incubator
Definitely looks like a great place and sounds like a great time was had. I really hope to make the next one!
That looked like a nice trip! Isn't paddle camping/fun! We went to Calderwood Lake this past weekend for the same thing and also hiked the Slick Rock Trail back a couple of miles to a beautiful waterfall and a giant pool great for swimming! You guys would love this little hideaway place!
Love many, trust few & always paddle your own canoe. American Proverb
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Grass Valley, Ca
Hammock: DIY "The Crippler"
Tarp: "Cuben Refugee"
Insulation: DIY "The Ex-gf"
Suspension: Whoopie Slings
Oh how I miss Florida. Awesome pics and glad everyone had a great time.
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