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Welcome Frances Stone - NW FLA Expert

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Schessl | Green Wave Forum News
Published Friday, October 26, 2007

Below is a bio we received from Frances Stone (Paddlesolo in the forums). As you'll quickly find out, she is someone you'll want to have on your kayak and canoe trips in the panhandle region of Florida. Frances can be contacted at or drop her a message on the forums.

From Frances / Paddlesolo: As a regular reader of the Green Wave Forum, I noticed that there was a need for a reporter to write about paddling in Northwest Florida. I volunteered and Ed requested a short bio to go with a picture, so I thought I would tell a little about my interest in paddling.

I was raised in Lower Michigan and attended camp for a week each summer close to Grayling, MI.  The camp had Grumman canoes and the campers could paddle in a small lake.  One day was reserved for an all-day paddle on the Au Sable River, a well-known trout stream near Grayling.  I knew even as a youngster that the fly fishermen in their waders didn't relish seeing a large group of pre-teens careening from bank to bank, laughing, talking, screaming down the river and banging those aluminum canoes.

The last summer the camp sponsored an overnight canoe trip down the Manistee River.  All the teens “coupled-up” and I was the odd person out, so I was left to paddle with the camp director.  During that trip, while I steadily paddled in the front of the canoe, he told me that I was an excellent paddler, and I was hooked for life!

Soon after I graduated from high school I got married, moved to Florida, had children, enrolled in college, and became a public school choral director.  After graduating from FSU, I took the first teaching position I could find and ended up in the Panhandle.  I still paddled occasionally in rented canoes, and eventually bought a used 17' fiberglass canoe. I joined the Apalachee Canoe Club in Tallahassee but it was always difficult finding partners to paddle with me in a tandem canoe.

Eventually I sold the canoe and thought I had given up canoeing.  After retirement, I purchased an Old Town tandem canoe, and paddled a few more times.  I rejoined the Apalachee Canoe Club, and in one of the newsletter it mentioned that the West Florida Canoe Club out of Pensacola would be in Marianna at Florida Caverns State Park for their 25th anniversary and would paddle the Chipola River.  So I called and said I would like to join the paddle.  I also volunteered some information about landings that had been closed, and scouted put-ins and shuttles and relayed information to the trip sponsors.  I enjoyed meeting the people in this group, and noticed that almost everyone paddled solo, either solo canoes, or solo kayaks.  The most popular solo canoe was the Mohawk, so without even trying out  the boat, I ordered one over the Internet, and had it shipped to me.  That is what I now paddle, a Solo 14 Mohawk with a double bladed paddle. I paddle streams, rivers, and creeks in the Panhandle, and quiet water in lakes and ponds.

I have received a lot of help from the experienced members of the club, and have been able to lead trips for the WFCKC on Holmes Creek, the Chipola, Dry Creek and Turkey Creek in the Eglin Reservation.  While I have scouted and paddled occasionally by myself, I am more comfortable in a group because of my age, and skill level. Paddling is a hobby that has given me a great deal of pleasure during retirement.

Frances Stone

Frances - Welcome and thank you for joining the Green Wave Forum Experts!

Last update Friday, October 26, 2007

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