Dry Creek Report
(Dry Creek (upper 5 Miles))

View: More Dry Creek reports, Tallahassee and West Locations 

Report By:  jlpaddle    Date: 4/28/2012 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 3 photos     Map & Directions: View

This is a gem of a creek in Jackson County. The creek has clear water and lots of wildlife if you are quiet and yes a few reptiles. Check out the pictures from previous trips.

My Report:

Upper Dry Creek 4-28-2012
Art, Kathy, Walker and Lynn joined me on a trip down the upper 5 miles of Dry Creek. It was a great day for a paddle. The Dahoon Holly (Ilex cassine) was in full bloom and the bees were really after them and their sweet smell filled the air in places. Someone cut off part of the Dahoon holly arch that you went under to get to Black Spring (river rise for Dry Creek). The water was up and a little cloudy at the beginning, but cleared up once we got past the bulrushes. The bulrushes seem to have grown and even though some one had cut them off it was still a struggle through them. I found a site that says they are eatable and given a number of our members are now or will soon be retired knowing how to forage for food will become important in retirement. http://www.herbvideos.com/bulrush.htm The area just past the bulrushes was filled with spatterdock (Nuphar lutea) and shallow (stay far left and follow the current). Once you get past the first few hundred yards the stream clears up and the vegetation is no longer a problem. The good news is that there were a few Apple Snail egg casings on the bulrushes.

While on the trip, there was only one slide over, but the other potential problem areas have been cleared by someone with a chainsaw. It also looks like there was a major rush of water through the creek, which moved some trees out of the way. The creek seems to have had a lot of sand moved around and a lot of small trees have fallen into the water, they won’t present a problem unless the water gets very low. At the three mile GPS mark, the right channel around the island has been cleared with a chainsaw. The leaves on the maple tree that was cut were still very green, so this has to be a recent happening. There were patches of spider lilies (Hymenocallis ) in bloom, one small group of Lizard’s Tail (Saururus cernuus) that was just starting to bloom, Pickerelweed –arrow leaves with purple/blue flower spikes (Pontederia cordata), there was a swamp rose (Rosa palustris) the size of a small loveseat with very fragrant blooms the size of a quarter and the mulberries were just starting to get ripe. There was a white mulberry on the left (about four miles) and a purple mulberry on the left (about four and a half miles).
Now for the bad news, Art saw a 6 to 7 foot alligator and I saw a very large snake (hindsight says it was a harmless water snake, but at the time the lower brain said BIG SNAKE- RUN!). There were some Ibis and a few other birds, but we saw more humans on this trip than all the other trips I have made. Two guys in canoes looked like they were trying to do some thing where Dry Creek runs into Spring Lake. They were too far away to talk to, so I don’t know what they were up to. Near the end of the trip we ran into a couple in a motorboat and they said the alligator had its territory in the area were we saw it. The number of people on the river could explain the lack of wildlife and the sighting of very few fish. We were in the river around 11 AM, had a lunch stop and were off the river before three. There was more of a current on the creek this time than any time before. Also, there were a lot of mosquitoes at the put in and a lot of gnats at the takeout.
Otherwise, this was a great trip on a beautiful day with lots of interesting scenery. The last part of the trip was in shade, which helped when the afternoon heat started.
Logistics and water level: The USGS Chipola River gage at Altha almost 12.5 feet 2-25-2012, but the gage was below 9 feet on 4-28-2012. This is only a rough guide since there is no gage on Dry Creek. If you look at the log in the put in picture from 2-25-2012 the water is just up to the bottom end, but on 4-28-2012 the water was up about an inch or so on the log.

The put in is a good 100 yard carry if you don’t get one of the two close parking spots. A four-wheel drive will get you down by the water, but the ‘road’ is very rutted and uneven (see the picture four years old, but the road has not improved with age). The water goes very gradually from sand to deep enough to float. There is a no trespassing sign (large sign on right, after the put in dirt road) that should be honored. If there are more than two vehicles park along the North side off the road. The put in is on private property, so please keep it clean for the sake of continued access.

The current at the put in was only a little faster than usual was not a real problem. The holly tree arch (see picture) was cut off, so now there is only half an arch. You must paddle upstream to the right from the put in to get to the river at this time. Leaving Black Spring there was a maple tree down across the exit, but it and it should not be a problem. It will require some maneuvering to get through.

The 40 foot mud walk now has enough water to float over and if our heavy canoe can make it, everyone should be able to make it through. The bulrushes (see picture) have grown a lot since February and it was a struggle to get through. After the bulrushes the vegetation has grown a lot also and you need to stay far left to get to where the current can get you into the main stream.
There was only one slide over on the trip and some of the potential pull over logs have been cut, there were however a number of new trees down. These may be a problem at a lower water level. The take out (river left) is at the SR73 Bridge and at high and low water there is room for two at a time to take out and the water here is shallow sandy with a gently slopping bottom.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Distance (miles): 5
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Dry Creek (upper 5 Miles):    (Click image to view full size)

Putin water level No Comm
Putin water level

The gage at Altha on the Chipola is not much help.

Half a holly arch No Comm
Half a holly arch

The holly arch in this picture is half gone now.

Bulrushes No Comm

The bulrushes have grown since this picture was taken. Get out and walk (mud, snails and sandals don't mix) or use the plants to pull along.


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsThe creek is hard work at first, but well worth the effort. The last half of the trip is in shade, which comes in handy in the summer heat.

Post Date: 6/19/2012

Go to jlpaddle's Trip JournalMore Trips and Comments on Dry Creek
More Tallahassee and West LocationsView Regions

Notice: Reported conditions may change and there may be errors in this text. Florida Sea Kayaking Association and author(s) of individual reports shall not be held liable for any omissions and inaccuracies contained herein. Readers are cautioned to supplement reports with other sources of information when planning a trip.