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Econfina Creek Report

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Report By:  ed    Date: 12/19/2006 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 5 photos     Map & Directions: View

After spending the night camping at Falling Waters State Park we decided to head to Econfina Creek for a quick paddle before returning to Pensacola. Water levels were seasonally low, but it was a beautiful day and great paddling.

My Report:

My buddy Scott from Denver was in town for a few days to escape the cold, snowy Colorado winter. Now Scott's not a kayak fiend (he paddles maybe twice a year), but I did manage to convince him to spend a few days on the water exploring Northwest Florida. So on Tuesday morning after camping at Falling Waters State Park near Chipley we headed towards Panama City and made a quick stop at Econfina Creek.

Skies were a beautiful blue; no sign of rain and temperatures hovered in the high 60's. Perfect for exploring the Econfina springs near the Highway 20 / Pitts Springs canoe launch and sure beat the heck out of spending the day in two feet of Denver snow.

First thing we realized was that I once again forgot to bring a kayak cart. The walk from the parking lot to the canoe launch at Highway 20 is a long one, especially carrying a loaded tandem kayak weighing in at about 100 lbs.

We slipped the tandem in at the canoe launch and headed upstream about 100 feet to Pitts Springs. It's currently closed to swimming due to low water levels and the greenish algae covering the bottom didn't look too inviting anyway. Snap a few photos and move on.

Continuing upstream we quickly came to the Sylvan Springs group. These are actually located southwest of Pitts, but you have to go north (upstream) to get there. Look for a small cut and clear spring water on the left side of the river.

Sylvan, like Pitts was low. We couldnít quite make the paddle all the way up to the small palm tree island, but did get close. One neat thing about the low-water condition is it revealed many more tiny springs that would normally be underwater. We spent a good hour exploring the nearby springs.

Heading down the short spring run from Sylvan, we turned downstream and went past the canoe launch and Highway 20 Bridge to the Gainer Springs group. This group has a few larger springs that output a tremendous amount of water. The water was crystal clear and thousands of panfish (perch, sunfish, etc) swam beneath our boat. Scott remarked that the major spring in the Gainer group reminded him of paddling an aquarium. Now I donít know where or when he last paddled an aquarium and didnít bother to ask.

Unfortunately the area surrounding the springs is private so exploration is limited to what you can do without leaving the boat. Next we headed east across the Econfina and checked out a few more springs in the Gainer group before turning north and towards home.

The GPS barely read three miles total by the time we reached the canoe launch. Overall, it was a great way to spend a December morning.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 3
Fees/Costs $: Free

Photos from Econfina Creek:    (Click image to view full size)

Econfina Scott Restricted
Econfina Scott

Scott at the Sylvian Springs group on Econfina Creek.

Sylvan Springs Group Restricted
Sylvan Springs Group

Exploring the Sylvian Springs group on Econfina Creek in December 2006.

Gainer Springs Group Restricted
Gainer Springs Group

A large spring part of the Gainer Springs group on Econfina Creek in December 2006.

Gainer Outflow Restricted
Gainer Outflow

Outflow from a large spring that is part of the Gainer Springs group on Econfina Creek.

Gainer Aquarium Restricted
Gainer Aquarium

Aquarium-like waters of Gainer Springs group on Econfina Creek.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsSome nearby Florida State Parks to explore: Falling Waters, Ponce de Leon, Grayton Beach, Deer Lake.

Post Date: 12/29/2006

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