Durbin Creek Report
(Bartram Canoe Trail)

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Report By:  Unknown    Date: 7/14/2012 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 11 photos     Map & Directions: View

Clark's Fish Camp Boat Launch to Racetrack Rd on Durbin Creek

My Report:

It was a great day of padding on Durbin Creek/Bartram Canoe Trail with the Florida Sea Kayak Association (FSKA). A total of 7 kayakers joined the Durbin Creek Wilderness Society (DCWS) for this trip which included a detailed guide and brief historical overview of the area. The DCWS also showed the paddlers the cleanup efforts that they have completed over the last year on the creek.

Weather: Partly Sunny, Temps 90's, East wind 5-10mph.
The Route:
Launch point: Clark's Fish Camp (12903 Hood Landing Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32258)
Midway Point: Bartram Canoe Trail Park (4936 Racetrack Rd, St. John's, FL 32259)
End Point: Clark's Fish Camp (12903 Hood Landing Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32258)
Total Miles: 13.5
Average Speed: 3.3mph
Total Time on the Water: Roughly 4 hrs.
Detail of the Trip:
Our trip started from the boat launch next to Clark's Fish Camp at 0900 on Saturday morning. The 8 of us started off our paddle by heading west out of the launch towards the Julington-Durbin Preserve. We reached the point of the Preserve were we turned back to the east and headed down Durbin Creek. The first 2 miles are pretty wide and filled with homes, docks, and typically some boat traffic, but since we left early there was none this time. After reaching the last dock on the creek you make a slight turn to the south where you will find a large Cypress tree with a rope swing attached to it. We all took a poll and no one was up for a early morning swim....
As we continued down the winding creek we came across Old Sampson Grade (N30 07.154 W81 32.782), a historic road that once connected Mandarin and Fruit Cove. During low tide it is still possible to see some of the bridge that had once crossed the creek. On the north side of the creek there is a path that will lead you into the Julington-Durbin Preserve. The area of the Preserve is just over 2,000 acres of hiking and recreational trails. Click on this link to learn more about Preserve, http://www.sjrwmd.com/recreationguide/julington-durbin/.
Continuing down the creek you will reach an open area where the JEA power lines cross. About a year ago this spot was impassable due to a large Hydrilla clog that went from bank to bank of the creek. This clog was taken on by the DCWS as one of their main goals. On a sunny Sunday morning they started out towards the clog, some by boat from Clark's, the rest in kayaks and canoes from the Racetrack Rd launch. They met at the clog and spent the whole day clearing the creek using manual labor. Once the day was complete the entire area was cleaned making the creek passable to paddlers again.
The creek continues east for a little bit where it then turns toward the south. Paddling was pretty easy and effortless and the canopy of the trees provide some great shade so the temperatures where very comfortable. There is a ton of wildlife on the creek and we had the opportunity to see one of the large owl’s that live in the area. It was right on the creek bank when we passed by. Due to the recent Tropical Storms that had hit the area there were some trees that had fallen, blocking parts of the creek. Though careful maneuvering of our kayaks, and even some removal of branches, we made it past the blockages and onto our midway turnaround point the Bartram Canoe Trail Park.
Once we arrived at the park, we pulled our kayaks up the launch and onto the grass. Here we got to see some more wildlife; a huge spider had parked itself on one of the bridge supports for Racetrack Rd. Man that thing was big! We took a nice relaxing 30 minute break here. The park has a very nice area that has a trash can, kiosk, bench, and picnic table. Also there is plenty of parking for someone that might be interested in launching from there. Chris with the DCWS gave a little tour of the park while we ate snacks and hydrated. One of the coolest things about the park is an old Cypress tree that has rail road spikes nailed into the side. These spikes go all the way to the top. There have been numerous theories to why the spikes where put there but no one can provide a clear cut answer to it. None the less, it’s a pretty cool sight to see. We finished up eating and headed back out to finish up the trip.
Paddling back to Clark’s was pretty uneventful, but we did need to stop and maneuver around the blockages again. This just added to the adventure! Once we made it to the open area with all the houses several boats were out and about with skiers. These boats created a nice wake for us to mess around in. We arrived back at Clark’s were we pack up our gear and went on our way.
Thanks to all that joined us on the creek!
Happy Paddling!

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Distance (miles): 13.5
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Bartram Canoe Trail:    (Click image to view full size)

Racetrack Rd Launch No Comm
Racetrack Rd Launch
Taking a break No Comm
Taking a break
Lunch at the park No Comm
Lunch at the park
at the midway point No Comm
at the midway point
paddling the creek No Comm
paddling the creek
paddling the creek No Comm
paddling the creek
paddling the creek No Comm
paddling the creek
paddling the creek No Comm
paddling the creek
ride a long No Comm
ride a long
ride a long No Comm
ride a long
ride a long No Comm
ride a long

Post Date: 7/15/2012

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