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Withlacoochee River (North)

 Withlacoochee River (North) Spring Hop (Kayak and Canoe Tour) Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 4 – 4.5 hours Skill level: Intermediate – Expert The meeting place for this trip is about 1.5 hours northwest of Gainesville on the Suwannee River. Cost: This one is $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 per person ($29 for members). Description On this 9 mile, downstream paddle, We go from Madison County Blue Spring State Park down to the confluence of the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. We’ll take out at Suwannee River State Park. This is usually a 4 – 4.5 hour trip (including lunch and swim stops). Like nearby sections of the Suwannee, this part of the Withlacoochee carves a relatively deep (by Florida standards) channel through the Florida highlands region. 30 – 40 foot bluffs are typical and some are even higher. Passing through the Cody Escarpment, the zone where the Central Highlands make their gradual descent to the Gulf Coastal Plains, the river carves it’s way ever closer to the underlying Floridan aquifer. Finally, it cuts deep enough to tap the aquifer and a spring gushes to the surface. Blue Spring is born. From this point on down, more vents in the limestone create more springs – at least half a dozen of them by the time Withlacoochee joins Suwannee. Some of these are small, easy to miss vents in the river bed, while others are nothing short of azure oases to the passing paddler.   . Difficulty This is an easy, downstream paddle. The hot weather should be your main consideration. It’s a fairly wide channel that could be sunny and...

Suwannee River

Suwannee River Kayak & Canoe Tour (Upper River)   Time:  About 3.5 – 4 hours, including a lunch stop. Meeting site:  Suwannee River, about 1.5 hours NW of Gainesville.  Cost:  $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 ($29 for members). * NOTE – There is also an additional $2 park entry fee to Suwannee River State Park     Description   On this trip we’ll be paddling the upper Suwannee River from the confluence of Alapaha River to Suwannee River S.P. We begin this trip with a short, ten minute stroll through some very interesting historical sites, representing a few of the more important periods of the Suwannee’s history. Then we hop in the van for a 10 minute shuttle up to the launch site to start our 7.5 mile paddle down the Suwannee.   The plant communities along this part of the Suwannee reflect the higher, drier terrain through which much of the river winds. The combination of high, sandy banks and dark, tannin-stained water, makes aquatic vegetation relatively scarce. But on shore there’s no shortage of greenery. Lanky, coastal plain willows, river birch, and Ogechee tupelos along with a number of sedge and grass species cling to the higher, firmer sand banks.   On top of the bluffs, an unbroken forest of oaks and pines rule the high ground. It’s a fairly remote area and animals such as deer, bobcats, hogs, turkey and an occasional bear come to the waters edge for a drink although sightings are relatively scarce.   Also residing in this stretch of the river are a...