Upper Ochlockonee River Report
(Upper Ochlockonee River CR-12)


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Report By:  jlpaddle    Date: 6/29/2015 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 20 photos     Map & Directions: View


The trip from CR12 to CR157 (Old Bainbridge Rd.) 14.4 miles of challenging paddling there are many trees down in the river. Water level is very important if you are making this trip, but it is worth it.

My Report:

On June 29, 2015 after much anticipation and planning, our fearless leader Kathy N. took Jim, Tommy and John on a pleasant 14.4 mile trip from the bridge at CR-12 to the bridge at Old Bainbridge Rd. (CR-157). Everyone met at the Old Bainbridge Bridge at 7:30 and arrived within 5 minutes of one another. We agreed to a reverse shuttle and off we went to the put in. The unimproved boat ramp at CR-12 was misty, since the morning fog had not yet burned off. Compared to previous trips, the CR-12 put-in was cleaner than usual which made it a more pleasant start to the trip.

We were on the water just before 8 AM. Kathy brought us good luck with an overcast sky during almost all of the trip, which kept the temperature down and made the trip easier. We were off the river by 1:50 PM, tired but happy.

The banks of the river were covered with willow for the first mile and a quarter and then opened into a wide river. The river wound enticingly around cypress trees and a canopy of willow trees which hang out over the water and made some of the paddling areas very narrow. Every turn presented water surprises of fallen obstacles or trees that were fun to paddle around, through or under. One tree draped across the river presented the opportunity for the paddlers to get out of their boats, hop onto the tree, pull their boat over and then re-enter. All paddlers executed this adventure beautifully.

The opening and narrowing of the river made for interesting paddling. There were also many duckunders on the trip only one was low enough to require great care in going under. Of course in higher water these might be pullovers. This is not a trip for beginners. For those interested in camping there were numerous sandbars, but I am not sure of the property status as far as camping goes.
We ate lunch on one of the many beautiful white sandbars and everyone took a few minutes to reflect on what a fantastic day we were having on this fantastic river adventure. Back in the water and many obstacles later, we came upon a small rapid (less than a class one) which is rarely seen while paddling this river.
We completed the trip within five hours and 50 minutes and will treasure memories that will last a life time.
The river was at 12.85 ft and the cfs was 120 at the Havana gauge at the Old Bainbridge Bridge http://waterdata.usgs.gov/fl/nwis/uv?site_no=02329000 . The cfs is well below the median cfs of 300 for this date, based on 88 years of history.
Animals on the river: one otter, osprey, anhinga, three alligators, great blue heron, white heron, little blue heron, white ibis, kingfisher, red shouldered hawk and other little birds. One alligator was draped across a fallen tree and quickly slipped into the water when we approached. Another alligator was lying on the bank and was about 4 feet long. He did not move when we paddled by and provided the opportunity for a couple of pictures.
Plants in bloom there was one Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Marsh Mallow ((Malva sylvestris), large numbers of a flowering vine (have not IDed) and morning glory (man-root/Ipomoea pandurata).

Willows (Salix nagra) dominate large sections of the river bank. There were many attractive spruce pines (sand pine/Pinus Glabra) and some baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), river birch (Betula nigra) and many oaks.

How to get there from Tallahassee: Take US-27 north to Old Bainbridge Rd. (CR-157) after about 4.5 miles Old Bainbridge Rd. makes a slight right and becomes Concord Rd. go for 4.4 miles until you get to CR-12 (Fairbanks Ferry Rd.) make a right go 3.5 miles to the bridge (7743 Fairbanks Ferry Rd., Havana, Fl 32333 or 30.668947,-84.305457). The put-in is an undeveloped boat ramp on the left before you get to the bridge or southwest side of the bridge. The take out is at the Old Bainbridge Bridge, so retrace your steps from the put-in (1971 Old Bainbridge Rd., Havana, Fl 32333 or 30.585786,-84.359289).

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 14.4
Fees/Costs $: 0


Photos from Upper Ochlockonee River CR-12:    (Click image to view full size)

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Put-in

30.668947,-84.305457

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Looking down river.

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Alligator

Far left on sandbar 3-4 feet long.

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Lunch
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Old Bainbridge Rd. (CR-157)



Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsThere are several other trips you can make on the Ochlockonee River.



Post Date: 7/1/2015

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