I recently got together with a few other hammock campers to kayak the Suwannee River for 5 days and 4 nights. I have to admit that I’ve never been on a kayaking trip for that long before. So when I was asked to join this motley group of guys/girls I said sign me up. The added benefit was that they were coming south instead of me driving north to meet up.
The Suwannee river starts in the Okefenokee Swamp in the town of Fargo, Georgia. and empties into the Gulf of Mexico on the outskirts of Suwanee, Florida. The Suwannee River length is around 246 miles long.
We’d only be doing just a small amount of these miles, about 37 miles over the course of 4 days, the first day being a zero day. The plan was to meet on Thursday December the 8th at Lafayette Blue Springs State Park (LBSSP) and stay at one of the river camps and then shuttle the boats north to Dowling Park ramp on Friday. From here, we would paddle back to LBSSP and stay another night.
On day 3, after having a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and sausage, courtesy of Grapenut and Poof, or was that on day 2? I’m not sure, as the first couple of days I was under the weather with a cold and not much fun, but I was determined to stick it out and I’m glad I did because this trip would easily go down into my top 3 “best adventures” book if I actually kept one.
Leaving LBSSP, we would pass numerous springs, drift with a mild current and face a slight headwind. The river was devoid of people. Just a quiet breeze and the clear water to my left and right.
We arrived at camp fairly early (about 2 PM), quickly hung the hammock in a nice spot overlooking the Suwannee. Today’s miles would be 8 miles LBSSP to Peacock Slough River Camp.
Day 4 we awoke early. Breakfast was Packit Gourmet’s Savory Italian Polenta with Pork Sausage, accompanied by 2 cups of coffee. We were on the river by 8 a.m. and again, passed numerous springs. Not much of a current today, but it was very quiet.
Around 11 p.m. we spied a small spring and river camp announcing cold beer and burgers. Beer and Burgers? I’m down! You can imagine my disappointment when I got to the order window and saw the ugly sign that said “We don’t sell beer on Sundays”. WTF? But when I saw that fat bacon cheeseburger my spirits were lifted and all of the bad thoughts were forgotten.
Day 4 would also offer up some of the best scenery yet. Numerous springs and one huge deep blue spring that I’d be taking a plunge in. I know what your thinking … swimming in December? The Gulf Coast has weird weather, what can I say? It was in the 60’s today and I was hot, plus I was egged on and told it would make good video footage. Glad I did it! It was awesome.
We rolled into camp around 3 p.m. Adams Tract was a tough landing, steep stairs right out of the water with no landing, but we made it without a single causality. I did have to strip clothing off again to retrieve a fishing pole that went into the drink.
The hostess greeted us, (I can’t remember her name), but she announced hot showers. Yes! The river camps pull out all the stops. Actually every river camp we stayed at had hot showers. I took full advantage of these amenities. Tonight I chose to hang my hammock in one of the shelters because rain was scheduled and it did not disappoint. The rain was mild but nice to here the pitter patter of it. The day’s milage from Peacock Slough River Camp to Adams Tract was 10 miles.
Just one of many springs you will see along the Suwannee River.
Day 5, our last day on the river. Today would take us from Adams Tract to Ivey Memorial Park Ramp, about 8 miles. The weather that morning wasn’t that great. A dense fog was on the river and it was misting heavily, but soon burned off.
Our trip had ended as quickly as it had began. We shuttled our vehicles, said our good byes, and headed home. I did feel a sense of loss leaving the Suwannee behind, but I vow to return next year … or sooner!
You can download the boat ramps and canoe launch sites here, Suwannee River Map