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East Bay River Report
(Upper Section and Live Oak Crk)


View: More East Bay River reports, Northwest FL Locations 

Report By:  gpax    Date: 5/30/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 16 photos     Map & Directions: View


This short, pristine river begins at steephead springs on Eglin Reservation and flows a few miles to East Bay. Cypress, Spruce and Titi bushes line river banks on both sides. Very few places to exit boats. Water varies from tea to coffee color.

My Report:

Jim called Friday evening. Our conversation led to a Saturday morning trip to scout the East Bay River north of Navarre and Mary Ester, Florida. I had missed two weekends due to storms and was ready to paddle.


As I proceeded to Navarre for our meeting, I crossed Yellow River on SR87. Looking back, our Yellow River takeout parking lot for Boiling Creek was under water. Streams were still very high from recent rain. East Bay River, however, being mostly feed by steephead seeps and swamp drainage, appeared to be about normal.

We met at the McDonalds parking lot in Navarre and drove east towards Mary Ester. Just past the 98 West Package Store we turned left [north] on an Eglin accesses road. The paved road stopped after a mile at a radar station. We continued straight [bearing left] on a dirt road another half mile to a bridge. Just over the bridge on the right was a put in.

Jim had been scouting the East Bay River but lacking a saw stopped at a tree spanning the river a couple of miles upstream. So Jim suggested we bring saws to cut our way through. He knew there was a 4X4 accessible spot past where he stopped. He also knew of a bridge further upstream.

Off we go upstream against a 2 mph current. This was a beautiful little creek sized river. The river did not appear to have much traffic. We paddled upstream and trimmed a couple of trees along the way. Since his last trip, someone else had trimmed his obstruction tree.

We stopped at his 4X4 road access and looked around. We decided to see how far upstream we could make it. So we started again until reaching the confluence with Live Oak Creek. Live Oak Creek is the same size as East Bay River but it is a clearer tea colored instead of East Bay River’s coffee color.

We made it four tenths of a mile up Live Oak Creek before we turned around due to an obstruction which would have required a chain saw to cut through. Live Oak Creek is a very pretty little creek. Returning to its mouth we turned left and continued upstream on East Bay River.

We followed East Bay River to an upstream Eglin Bridge. We stopped and looked over the spot for a put in for later paddles. We continued upstream but a few hundred yards up we stopped due to obstructions. We decided a fun paddle would be to put in at this bridge and paddle downstream.

We ate lunch and then returned DOWNSTREAM. Enjoying the current, we were back in no time. However, we had two notable events.

First, I saw my first ever alligator in the wild. That log floating in the river had two eyes and swam with us for a few yards. Jim was between me and the gator. As I was trying to get a picture he submerged in the coffee colored water so as not to be seen again. We guessed he was about six feet. Jim had the better view.

We thought we were getting close to our take out when we heard what must have been trucks crossing our bridge. No, three jet skis that put in at the SR87 bridge had zoomed upstream. They could have easily swamped us but they slowed down. The “river” is too narrow for those kinds of wakes. They stopped at our take out and talked with us for a while before we both left.

Here are the gps coordinates of both our bridges:
N30 25.891 W86 46.330 Bridge Downstream
N30 25.778 W86 44.332 Bridge Upstream

We plan on going back to explore some more on the East Bay River and Live Oak Creek.
I ran a track on my Garmin topo map and from the Downstream bridge to SR87 bridge is about 8 miles. I would also like to explore the possibility of going further on Live Oak
Creek.

More information and pictures are available on my blog:
East Bay River

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 6.8
Fees/Costs $: $10 Eglin Rec Permit


Photos from Upper Section and Live Oak Crk:    (Click image to view full size)

Limbo Log No Comm
Limbo Log

A paddler had a good amount of debris to paddle around, over and under.

Hunting Arrow No Comm
Hunting Arrow

I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth I know not where ...

tannin stained water No Comm
tannin stained water

Water was coffee colored in East Bay River and tea colored in Live Oak Creek

Scenic Backwater No Comm
Scenic Backwater

We paddled into a scenic backwater full of lily pads and water plants. I could not resist this photo.

Lily pads and kayaks No Comm
Lily pads and kayaks

We paddled into a scenic backwater full of lily pads and water plants. I could not resist this photo.

Lilly pad No Comm
Lilly pad
Aquatic plant No Comm
Aquatic plant

Blue plants were in bloom along the river.

Blue aquatic plant No Comm
Blue aquatic plant

Blue plants were in bloom along the river.

Going around a tree No Comm
Going around a tree

Lots of debris in the creek but we could get around, over or under it.

Debris No Comm
Debris

Lots of debris in the creek but we could get around, over or under it.

A way around No Comm
A way around

Lots of debris in the creek but we could get around, over or under it.

Scenic East Bay Rvr No Comm
Scenic East Bay Rvr

Lots of debris in the creek but we could get around, over or under it.

Narrow at times No Comm
Narrow at times

Lots of debris in the creek but we could get around, over or under it.

Birds eye view No Comm
Birds eye view

Birds eye view of my kayak off the upstream bridge

Scenic East Bay Rvr No Comm
Scenic East Bay Rvr

Pretty East Bay River

East Bay River No Comm
East Bay River


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsNeed a $10 Eglin Annual permit from Jackson Guard



Post Date: 5/31/2009

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