A paddle going upstream on Burnt Mill Creek from the boat ramp. The area paddled is open water which is tidally influenced past saltwater marshes.
I wanted to see what Burnt Mill Creek looked like upstream, so my paddling guide, Len, who lives on Burnt Mill Creek, offered to go with me. We put in at the boat ramp and paddled toward the CR 388 Bridge. Not far after leaving the boat ramp is a dock for a large fishing vessel and it appears that one should go straight ahead, but that area is only a bayou, and one needs to make a 90 degree turn to the left to stay with the open channel. As we neared the bridge, another paddler from Slocum, AL made his way down from Len's house to join the paddle. Ron was paddling a "skin on frame" kayak that he had built, and using a carved Greenland paddle. A beautiful yak!
The area is used by boaters and fishermen, and all that passed us were kind and throttled down to a slow speed. After reading about other paddlers complaints about boats nearly running them over, I appreciate the consideration of the NW Florida boaters.
For the first few miles the open water is flanked by large areas of Black Needlerush on both sides of the stream. After about three miles of paddling, the creek is contained within higher banks with pine, Southern Magnolia and palmetto plants. This is a typical black water creek with the water quite dark from tanins leached from upstream vegetation. Because our paddle occurred a few hours after high tide there were few areas to beach our boats and get out for a stretch. We did find two places, one for a short swim and then 4.75 upstream where we had lunch where two of us crowded under the brush, and one chose to eat in the stream itself.
Paddling upstream was challenging because of the falling tide and the current of the creek. Coming downstream there was a headwind. It was a hot, strenuous paddle for me, although the guys in their yaks seemed comfortable. After a rest at Len's house he and I paddled the remaining mile down to the boat ramp and loaded our boats. Total distance paddled was 9.36 miles in three hours and fifty minutes.
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