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Suwannee River Report
(Suwannee Wilderness Trail - No)

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Report By:  rollyvolly1    Date: 6/24/2015 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 13 photos     Map & Directions: View

Spirit of the Suwannee Park to 249 bridge

My Report:

Our original plan was to paddle a portion of the Suwannee Wilderness Trail: from Spirit of the Suwannee state park to Suwannee River State Park, with overnight camping at Holton Creek River Camp. There were several things that we were miss/uninformed regarding so our plans changed considerably. These included the speed of the water, bank height at the camp, camp host, banks very challenging for a novice and strong afternoon winds.

I'll leave those details for the very end because even with the challenges we had an amazing time. Provided you are not a novice kayaker and you are well prepared this is a highly recommended trip.
We did use the Outfitters at Spirit of the Suwannee state park and found them to be very curteous and willing to work with us even when our plans changed.
The first day was truly amazing. We paddled and fished for approximately 4-5 hours without seeing a human soul. We came across a spotted fawn and I am quite sure it had never seen a human. Around every bend seemed to be a beautiful white sandy beach, large mysterious holes in the Lime rock walls, seeping springs running out of Limerock or a little creek. The fishing wasn't great but deep holes left unfished promised monster fish lurking in their depths. Progress without any kind of reference to where we were on the river did leave us a little concerned. Fortunately we eventually came upon a boat of locals. We were quite relieved to hear that Holton Creek River camp was literally two bends down the river.
Although the landing was overwhelming, Holton Creek River Camp was everything it was builded to be. I was very skeptical about any kind of "free" campsite with "full amenities" but it was truly wonderful: raised screened platforms, ceiling fan, lights, electrical outlets, showers, bathrooms, grills. The thing we didn't know about that we wish we had was the utility carts that will assist you with getting gear up the ramps into your site as well as we even using them as kayak dollies. We actually had the camp all to ourselves that night, 6/20/15.
When we arrived there were with locals using the facilities but they left by dark because they didn't have a boat. That is the only caviat to overnight camping there, with reservations to ensure availability.
By early Sunday morning when we started preparing for a second day, we realized that the planned almost 13 miles of paddling was well beyond our abilities. We altered our plans and called our outfitter. We got back on the river.
The second day we paddled from Holton Creek river camp to the 249 Bridge. Our 1st substantial encounter was Holton Creek. It was the first of several substantial springs and spring runs that we encountered on a second day. There was quite a few homes but the dark and clear springs as well as better fishing compensated. We still only came across about a dozen people all trip, and they were all pleasingly southern (courteous, fun loving, nice river folk.)
Now for the cautionary portion of my report 1) we were told that the Suwannee travels at an average of three to three and a half miles per hour. The majority of our first day the river hardly flowed at all and at times deep holes were completely still. This resulted in us having paddle much more aggressively than expected. 2). Afternoon winds at times stopped our forward progress. 3). You need an experienced kayaker on this leg. There are plenty of sandy shores but they are extremely soft, easily sinking calf deep when getting out of kayaks. I'm a novice kayaker. Fortunately I was with an experienced one. I'm a native Floridian who has spent the majority of my 50 years playing in the waters of Florida or in the forests but if I was not with an experience kayaker I would have been over my head in this situation. 4). and Holton Creek from the waterline to the top of the rim where the camp sites were was somewhere between 30 and 40 feet: a 35-step staircase, starts about 6 feet above the waterline, which is then followed by about 90 feet of ramp. It was exhausting getting our kayaks to camp site and we were not prepared to leave them at the water line. Once again with understanding those challenges, I HIGHLY recommend the trip.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Difficult
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 11
Fees/Costs $: supplies & $50 to ou

Photos from Suwannee Wilderness Trail - No:    (Click image to view full size)

mysterious holes in No Comm
mysterious holes in
mysterious holes in Restricted
mysterious holes in
fallen tree beach Restricted
fallen tree beach

One of the many huge sugar white sandy beaches

boys ranch spring ru Restricted
boys ranch spring ru

Our 1st sizeable spring run encountered

Holton creek platfor Restricted
Holton creek platfor

Our remote camping accomodations

top of stairs view Restricted
top of stairs view

This gives an idea of how high the rim of the Holton creek camp is from the water line. The man in the water is 6 ft tall and those are 14' kayaks.

Alappaha Spring Restricted
Alappaha Spring

This was our last substantial spring

seeping spring Restricted
seeping spring

By far the prettiest spring seeping directly out of the rocks along the way

oak roots wrap Restricted
oak roots wrap

We found this massive oak with roots clawing into the Limerick cliff-bank

oak roots wrap Restricted
oak roots wrap

We found this massive oak with roots clawing into the Limerick cliff-bank

big sandy beach Restricted
big sandy beach

This was the largest of the numerous sugar sand beaches we encountered

dark spring Restricted
dark spring

This was the largest of the dark springs that were right on the water... The boil and water temp left no question that it was a spring... One of many

mysterious holes Restricted
mysterious holes

More large holes found on day 2

Post Date: 6/24/2015

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