Sopchoppy River Report
(Martian Bridge to Oak Park)

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Report By:  tom    Date: 12/19/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 3 photos     Map & Directions: View

The middle stretch of the Sopchoppy River, above Oak Park Bridge and below Martian Bridge on Forest Road 329.

My Report:

Be careful if you poke fun at hunters in the Apalachicola National Forest, because God has a very strange sense of humor.

It started because the Sopchoppy River was up and Carol Schwarz decided to take a look at it. We put in at Martian Bridge with the river running fast at 14 feet. We saw plenty of hunters out on the forest roads and driving past in their trucks, waving at us at the put-in. Louis Tornyai, Kay Cleary, Tom and Carole Butler and Carol Schwarz made up the crew.

We had a fast trip downriver, making six miles to Oak Park bridge inside of three hours, even with a lunch stop and a side trip as far as we could get up Monkey Creek. It was a trip that called for fast side-draw paddling in sports, but nobody snagged and dumped. We pushed and batted our way into Monkey Creek, hoping it would evolve into something easier. But we finally did U-turns at a wide spot and shot back down the creek.

Some of us were saying that if we had ben able to push our way that far into Monkey Creek with 14 feet of water, we could probably also sometime do the upper section of the Sopchoppy River from Forest Road 13 down to Martian Bridge.

The river runs in a trench below the surrounding land, and as we drifted along in a straight stretch, Louis glanced over and saws a deer huddling in the brush near the water's edge, watching us from a few feet away! His (he had the start of antlers) fur blended perfectly with the brush. As we looked, he jumped up and ran up the bank. We wondered if he had been wounded, or just exhausted and thirsty. Either way, he had apparently been taking cover.

Taking out, we talked about how many hunters we'd seen and about the deer we saw taking cover. Then on the road to Sopchoppy's pizza restaurant, one of our party hit a feral pig that darted out in front of the car! So while many deer hunters went home empty-handed, one of us wound up bringing home the bacon. We stopped at Backwoods Pizza for an impromptu wake, telling pig stories over a mostly vegetarian pizza (no bacon).

OK, all together now as we join with the Irish Rovers in singing:

"Pigs can swim and pigs can fly,
pigs can see the wind go by.
Pigs make lovely household friends
when winter comes and summer ends!"

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 6
Fees/Costs $: n/a

Photos from Martian Bridge to Oak Park:    (Click image to view full size)

Planning the trip No Comm
Planning the trip

Meeting at the Circle K at Crawfordville Highway, we wondered which Forest Roads would be best after the recent heavy rains.

Monkey Creek No Comm
Monkey Creek

We worked our way up Monkey Creek for quite a ways, but we really could have used some clippers for some of the branches.

Backwoods Pizza No Comm
Backwoods Pizza

We stuffed ourselves afterward with pizza. Alas, the Town of Sopchoppy does not allow them to see beer, and requires this fine eatery to charge people for BYOB.


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsThe ideal height for this river, on the USGS online river gauge, is at least 11 feet. We have paddled it at higher levels, but that smooths out the interesting spots and puts you up in the trees.

Post Date: 12/31/2009

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