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Econfina Creek Report


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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 1/17/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 15 photos     Map & Directions: View


One way to beat the livery crowd is paddle during the off season. 14 paddlers did just that, beginning the paddle on a nippy morning that turned out to be a wonderful day. Most of the paddlers used the Econfina Livery for their put-in.

My Report:

A group of dedicated paddlers gathered to paddle the Econfina in spite of some nippy weather. Some came from Falling Water State Park where they were camping, some drove over from Pensacola for a day paddle and I joined the group from Marianna. As I arrived I saw one of my friends in the state canoe launch parking lot, and we walked down to the floating dock and did some serious trash talking about how unfriendly that launching spot is. Fine for warm, summer days, when you can stand in the water and help people into their boats. Then we drove to the Econfina Livery arriving early before the gate was open. The owner drove up, and for a small fee we were able to go to a spring run a short distance from the Econfina with a sandy put-in. The rest of the group arrived in short order and we were off.


One of the nice things about putting in at the livery is visiting Williford Springs, an additional group of small springs, and Pitt Springs while paddling downstream. We passed the floating canoe launching dock, paddled under the SR 20 Bridge and came to the Gainer Springs Group.
There were some enormous tad poles in the water. Our trip leader had seen them on a Thanksgiving paddle, other paddlers had seen them clumped together in huge masses in previous years. The spring water provides clear visibility, and there must have been over 100 scattered in one spot, and then more in other places. They were coming up to the surface for air, and it was possible to see the beginning of feet, but basically they looked like a big fat body with a long, flat tail that propelled them through the water.

After watching the tadpoles for awhile, we went out into the main stream and right around the corner is Emerald Springs. This was our lunch stop. The Law of Attraction must be at work, because I learned about tree galls in my Master Naturalist Class, took a picture of a very large gall on Holmes Creek, and found another large gall on a tree near Emerald Springs. It seemed to be the same species of decidous tree.

Some paddlers went up a spring run directly across from Emerald Springs and saw a couple more springs. They reported that the beavers have blocked access to at least one of the springs. I had seen beaver dams at this spot several years ago, then last year they had been completely removed and I was able to paddle to those springs and snorkle in them. "Busy as beavers" seems to be true, because they had constructed another dam.

After leaving Emerald Springs there are a couple hours of paddling on a beautiful creek down to the boat ramp on SR 388. There are just a few houses and fish camps on the left side of the river. The creek was very clear with a touch of tannin, so the white sand bottom made the water appear to be yellow. We paddled steadily with the sun shining in our eyes, keeping a sharp look-out for obstructions. The trip took nearly three hours of paddling time for the 8.23 miles of the paddle. Having fun exploring nature and socializing accounted for another two hours. A great day on Econfina Creek! Even though there are some houses I am rating this paddle as a 5 because of all the springs to be explored, and the clear water with a good current, and a stream free from obstructions.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Canoe
Distance (miles): 8.23
Fees/Costs $: $5.00 for launching


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

Ice in the Wetlands No Comm
Ice in the Wetlands

When we arrived and walked down the boardwalk to the Econfine Floating Launch, ice covered the wetland marshes.

Beaver Dam at Put-In No Comm
Beaver Dam at Put-In

We used a spring run put-in behind the Econfina Livery that the beavers liked also.

Williford Spring Run No Comm
Williford Spring Run

A solo canoe paddler with great form and skill.

Econfina Canoe Launc No Comm
Econfina Canoe Launc

One enters the canoe or kayak from the floating dock using the ladders.

Williford Springs No Comm
Williford Springs
Dad and the Girls No Comm
Dad and the Girls

These girls are getting a wonderful introduction to the beauty of nature by the father of one of the young ladies.

Cold Weather Clothes No Comm
Cold Weather Clothes
Tropical Setting No Comm
Tropical Setting

This palm arches over Econfina Creek creating a tropical feel for the area.

Small Gainer Spring No Comm
Small Gainer Spring

The Gainer Springs area has many springs both large and small.

Large Spring No Comm
Large Spring

A large spring which is part of the Gainer Springs Group.

Looking at Tadpoles No Comm
Looking at Tadpoles
Tadpole in hand. No Comm
Tadpole in hand.

This was also "catch and release".

2 Girls and a Gall No Comm
2 Girls and a Gall
Damage to Tree No Comm
Damage to Tree

This view clearly shows the mechanical damage that produced the gall.

Tour Guide No Comm
Tour Guide

These girls are very interested in the Gainer Springs area.

 


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsPitt Springs Recreation Area is located on SR 20 next to Econfina Creek. It has a Birding Trail, a 17 mile walking trail which continues into the Water Management Area, picnic facilities, and swimming in a small spring during warm weather.



Post Date: 1/25/2009

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