Date: March 18, 2017
Register now for our March 18 kayak trip on the Withlacoochee River with Lars Andersen.
The Withlacoochee River has been designated one of Florida's "Outstanding Waterways" and this section is about as outstanding as it gets. This easy, out-and-back paddle covers about 4–5 miles of relatively quiet waters. The lack of human encroachment and abundant wildlife make this one of the finest sections of the Withlacoochee on which to get a full, heady dose of nature.
For much of its hundred-mile length, the Withlacoochee carries itself with a subtle beauty that is unlike any other Florida river. The section we'll be exploring is near the Tsala Apopka wetlands, historically a favorite refuge for Native Americans and currently a refuge for a vast array of wildlife, including water birds, turtles, gators, and other reptiles. We also have a good chance of seeing otters. The stars of this show, however, are the limpkins. We usually see 20–30 of these endangered birds on this trip.
This section has a great diversity in appearance, ranging from relatively narrow channels to broad expanses nearly a half mile wide. The low swamp forests lining the bank are dominated by cypress with a nice mix of gum, ash and red maple. The river itself alternates between open expanses of water to large areas of marsh. Some of these marshes are in the form of floating mats of pickerelweed, bur marigold and climbing hempvine, while in other places, the vegetation is more firmly rooted, creating semi-permanent islands. This abundance of aquatic vegetation provides a virtual banquet of wildlife watching opportunities.
This is a 3.5–4 hour paddle on relatively slow water. It's very open in places, so wind can be an issue. But, since it's an out-and-back trip, we can easily cut the trip short if wind or weather gets bad. There are many tempting side channels and the floating vegetation can be confusing, so you won't want to get out of sight of the guide.
About our guide
For the past 20 years, Lars Andersen, along with his wife Patsy, have owned Adventure Outpost, a kayak/canoe outfitter and guide service based in High Springs. Lars is a full-time river guide, offering tours on over 40 of North and North Central Florida’s many waterways. He is a certified Florida Master Naturalist and is now a lead instructor for the program. He is the author of North Florida Adventure: A Journey Through History, Paynes Prairie: A History and Guide, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail Paddling Guide, and Paddlers Guide to the Gilchrist Blueway.
Click here to register. The member rate for this field trip is $39/person for a single or tandem kayak and $29/person to bring your own boat. The non-member rate is $45/person for a single or tandem kayak and $35/person to bring your own boat. Call 407-622-1606 to find out if your membership is current or needs to be renewed. To join as a member, visit www.flawildflowers.org/membership.php.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization; contributions are tax deductible. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR THE FLORIDA WILDFLOWER FOUNDATION, A FLORIDA-BASED NONPROFIT CORPORATION (REGISTRATION NO. CH12319), MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR VISITING THEIR WEBSITE HERE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.