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Blackwater River Report
(Bryant Bridge to Deaton Bridge)

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Report By:  slashpine    Date: 11/30/2008 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 4 photos     Map & Directions: View

Kayak trip from Bryant Bridge to Deaton Bridge (Blackwater River State Park).

My Report:

Our trip, planned a month ago, relied on a snap decision. Rain fell the day before. Weather reports suggested more rain and cooling temperatures. The morning of the trip was overcast, but a moderate 63 degrees (by the end of the day, the air would drop 10 degrees). Six of us (3 kids doubled up with adults) launched four kayaks about noon from Bryant Bridge.

The river was a dark, smoky color. We decided we would paddle fast during the first part of the trip, so that we’d reach Deaton Bridge before dark. The wind blew 18-20 mph with gusts up to 28 mph (according to Whiting Field readings). Our research on cold weather clothing proved useful. Polyester gym pants and windbreakers (along with various underclothes) kept us mostly warm. Feet and hands were more difficult to keep warm. Swift paddling helped.

The river is wide, sometimes spanning a couple hundred feet. The advantage of this expanse is that getting stuck is nearly impossible. But the trip would take longer to explore more closely the various features of each riverside bank. A wintery look has taken over the river. There will always be the green of fir and pine, but the gray skeletons of maple, sweet gum, and sycamore thrust from the banks, from waves of golden grass like curling smoke. The clouds dissipated in the first hour, leaving the sky clear for the rest of the trip. A lone turkey buzzard soared above us, the only dark thing in the blue sky.

Wide, long banks are frequent. Seen from aerial maps, our waypoints gained names such as Snoopy, Hammerhead, and Cow Head. A charred log sat high on one sandbank. Another was littered with Keep Out, Private Property signs. Just south of the Bryant Bridge, we rounded long white cliffs, about 20 feet high. Later, smaller cliffs, more yellow than white, lent a canyon feel to the trip. On this cliff, two campers sat with coffee mugs before a fire. Two islands offer a little touring pleasure. The second island was nothing but white sand. We stopped here to snack on apple, yellow bean bread, turkey chunks, and trail mix. The aforementioned bird and a lounging turtle were the only wildlife we saw. The turtle, probably cold, waited patiently for us to approach before dropping from its sunny log back into the river.

Cypress lined several darker sections of the river, nearly sentry-like at the entrance to a black lagoon at one point. Two small waterfalls—we nearly missed them—were on either side of the river. A third one dropped three feet, gushing over limbs into the current. A few boat ramps access the river. One is brand new, having steps down to the shore. Eventually, we entered the Blackwater River State Park section of the river. Signs mark the entrance, along with warnings about no pets, glass, or alcohol. On the eastern bank, a few park pavilions rise out of the forest. We didn’t stop to investigate them, but they seemed roomy from our river view. The Deaton Bridge is just beyond these pavilions. One last long flat white bank juts far into the water. The bridge can be seen just beyond this point.

The trip took a little more than 3 hours. Our top speed was 8.1 mph. This is a good trip for larger parties. There are several natural stops and the pavilions at the end.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 9
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Bryant Bridge to Deaton Bridge:    (Click image to view full size)

lone paddler No Comm
lone paddler
winter trees No Comm
winter trees
turtle on log No Comm
turtle on log
bank colors No Comm
bank colors

kayaker in the grass, bottom left.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsWhite cliffs, 3 small waterfalls

Post Date: 12/3/2008

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