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Wekiva River Report

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Report By:  Unknown    Date: 4/16/2008 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 6 photos     Map & Directions: View

Launch at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Paddle downstream as far as you desire. Save something for the return trip, take a detour up Rock Springs Run

My Report:

On January 27, 2008, when I posted my first Wekiva River report on the Forum, I wrote that it was one of 5 Wekiva paddles that I do. Here is number 4. Out and back from Wekiwa Springs State Park.

It was windy Wedenesday as I drove on 6 lane State Road 436 past office buildings, strip malls, shopping malls, and other businesses. Amid the clutter, a small green sign proclaims, "Wekiva Springs Basin" Testament to the challenges faced by the Real Florida.

15 minutes later, I was at Wekiwa Springs State Park. I dragged my yak down the long slope and was in the water at 2:10. The hard packed launch area is just outside the Springs. A pedestrain bridge prevents paddlers from entering. and swimmers from exiting.

The River off the launch is more large pond than river. A good place for the occasional paddler to get the feel of his boat. The We kiva soon narrows, into a classic spring fed tree canopied run. For a weekday there seemed to be a lot of people. Perhaps ten other canoes and kayaks by the time I reached Rock Springs Run. Weekends, of course are very crowded. Traffic is two ways. Some folks put in or rent canoes from the Wekiva Marina, a private concession a mile downstream. Once you are past the Marina, even on weekends, it is rare to see other people on the River. I saw four boats the rest of the day. Two kayaks and two small motor boats. Large boats, that can be found in the Lower Wekiva near the St Johns, will not fit here.

There are several Indian Mounds along the Weikva. I have located three on this portion of the River. On, aboutsome 45 minutes downstream on the right is a popular hangout. You can't miss it on River right. Look for the high ground and a rope swing. Last year I took the high school age daughters of a friend on a Wekiva trip. Their unsolicited opinion, after swinging into the cool water one, then two, then three at a time was, "It's better than Universal !" After this trip, I noticed a new sign at the launch. It stated paddlers can only land at Wekiva Marina, Katie's Landing, and designated campsite. The large shell mound is not a designated campsite.

I paddled past a designated campsite downstream of the large mound. Buffalo Tram, the turnaround point of my upstream from Katie's Landing and return, trip. I continued on, letting the current do the work. Except in open areas. where the wind, which averaged 13 to 21 MPH blew in my face. Windy, but right and sunny. Turtles occupied nearly every log. I expected to see alligators, and finally, near my two hour turn around time, I saw one. Plenty of birds, three types of herons, two egrets, lots of limpkins. Past Buffalo Tram there are several islands and channels, most leading to no where. The Twin Mounds site, described and pictured in an earlier post is in this area. I did not make the effort to look for it on this trip. On the return trip, I did take one alternate route. I had to turn back upon arriving at a log occupied by several turtles and two small alligators. All slid into the water before I could get a picture. As I turned around to get back to the main channel a large creature burst through the reeds and splashed into the water. Mother gator, I presume.

I stopped at the unoccupied Buffalo Tram site for a break.
Water bottle topped of, internal fluids emptied, I continued upstream. The wind was now at my back, which evened things out.

I could have paddled downstream longer than two hours, but I wanted to have some time to go up Rock Springs Run. Although I have seen deer on the We kiva, I see them much more often on Rock Springs Run. Not to mention bears, and not to far from the confluence. Nether this trip in the 30-40 minutes I spent on this, my favorite waterway.

The State Park is twenty minute upstream. I landed a bit past seven. I saw no one, other than rangers at the Park. Now I faced the only bad thing about launching at Wekiwa Springs State Park. The long slope is now uphill. I break it up by resting the yak on the split rail fence that parallels the path, resting a few seconds, then contining the trudge upward. For some reason, my arms are always tired after being in the water for 5 hours.

For another version of this report, and additional pictures, click here

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 8 ?
Fees/Costs $: 3-5

Photos from Wekiva River:    (Click image to view full size)

Wekiwa Springs No Comm
Wekiwa Springs
Limpkin No Comm
Alligator No Comm
Wekiva River No Comm
Wekiva River
Wekiva Marina No Comm
Wekiva Marina

"Marina" may be a bit pretentious

Snowy egeret No Comm
Snowy egeret

Post Date: 4/17/2008

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