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Wekiva River Report
(Buffalo Tram Campsite)

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Report By:  Unknown    Date: 10/31/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 25 photos     Map & Directions: View

Buffalo Tram, the one campsite on the Wekiva River, is a 90 minute to 2 hour paddle down River from Wekiwa Springs State Park. On the west bank, it is easy to miss if you paddle on the east side of an island. Look for evenly spaced wood posts, remnants o~

My Report:

I've considered adding camping to my kayaking adventures for years. I gathered fireplace wood back in 2005- a lot of it around after the 2004-05 hurricane season, thinking some day I'd use it in a campfire. I bought a very cheap, and small tent, at a Savalot grocery in 2005. Never used it. What gave me the final push was the Green Wave Forum, specifically the "Deal of the Day" After buying a spray skirt from Sierra Trading Post, I signed up for emails from that company. A couple weeks ago I bought a Marmot Titan 2 person tent for about half price. A few more purchases, sleeping bag, pad, and other items, I was ready to go camping.

I test loaded the yak, and everything fit. Arrived at Wekiwa Springs State Park Saturday morning, paid $5.00 for my one night. I had wanted to camp on one of the three sites on Rock Springs Run, but they were booked by mid week when I called to see what was available.

I loaded the kayak, attached my cart, and wheeled down the boardwalk. In the future, I will carry a good portion of my gear down the hill, then come back for the kayak. Packing piece by piece, I had not considered how heavy the overflowing yak would be. The wheels came off several times. Which gave me opportunities to rest. A water jug lid cracked as I lifted the front end to negotiate a sharp turn, dropping it on the concrete sidewalk. Eventually, I got to the launch, duct taped the jug, filing it from a spigot, assured by a concession worker, "We drink it all the time". Back up the hill to put the cart in the car, and was off.

My Wilderness Tsunami 140 carried a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, army blanket (used under the tent in lieu of a tarp) fire wood, charcoal, rod, reel and tackle, (and new license), food, water, cooking utensils, toiletries, water and camera.

Buffalo Tram is a primitive site, everything must be yaked in, from water to fire wood to toilet paper. My yak was a beast of burden, riding low in the water, a bit sluggish with the extra weight. It was a good thing my first experience was not paddling up the shallow, narrow, twisting, swift Rock Springs Run, but down the broader, straighter, Wekiva River.

It took ninety minutes to get to Buffalo Tram. I fixed camp. If you break camp when leaving, you fix it when arriving. Started a lunch fire. The only man made object at the site is a metal fire ring with grill. Not even an bench. Large logs around the fire were my chairs for the weekend..
I walked on the trail leading from the campsite, saw a deer. Did some fishing. Talked to three people who stopped at the site. As mentioned in Wekiva River Camping
I was disappointed no one asked for permission to stop. What do you think ? Would you even stop at an occupied camp site? I never do.. The Yak Tales version is a long, call it the Michener version. Consider this the Hemingway. short and to the point.

From my primitive base, I paddled up and down River. Spotting blue, great blue, black crowned night herons, turtles, including a giant snapper, and alligators. One gator I considered my doorman, resting on the same log near my site all afternoon.. I visited the Twin Mounds Archaeological site, and looked, unsuccessfully, for deer along the River at dusk.

Dinner under the full Halloween moon, reading Field & Stream by flashlight. Two campfire tips. Instant start charcoal to start the fire, and after dinner, a Duraflame or Pine Mountain fake log for a long lasting campfire.

In the tent about ten, I could not sleep. I need to find a better pillow, and perhaps a thicker pad. But when truly kayak camping, not car camping with the kayak, space and weight limitations are an issue.

Despite my lack of sleep, I think this is the best day-night of the year to camp. Full moon for light at night, then an early sunrise with the change to Standard Time. I took advantage with a dawn paddle, and a walk on the trail, seeing two deer on the hike.

Breakfast, and leisurely broke camp and packed the yak. A bit lighter, no wood, less food and water. Took about two hours paddling up stream to return to Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Where, having learned my lesson, carried all I could up the hill, then came back to pull the half full kayak up the hill.

The 72 degree water of Wekiwa Springs never felt better after the gear was in the car, kayak on top.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Fees/Costs $: 5

Photos from Buffalo Tram Campsite:    (Click image to view full size)

Underway No Comm
Blue heron No Comm
Blue heron
Great blue heron No Comm
Great blue heron
Alligator No Comm
Arriving at campsite No Comm
Arriving at campsite
Deer on the trail No Comm
Deer on the trail
Weekend home No Comm
Weekend home
Grasshopper? locust? No Comm
Grasshopper? locust?
Doorman No Comm
Twin Mounds No Comm
Twin Mounds
Huge snapper No Comm
Huge snapper
Doorgator No Comm

The posts are the old logging tram

Back home No Comm
Back home
Wekiwa at dusk No Comm
Wekiwa at dusk
Blue heron No Comm
Blue heron
Little wing No Comm
Little wing
Moonrise No Comm
Ibis Sunday No Comm
Ibis Sunday
Coffee's on No Comm
Coffee's on
Cormorant No Comm
Flowering bush No Comm
Flowering bush
Staredown No Comm
Green heron No Comm
Green heron
Wekiwa Spring No Comm
Wekiwa Spring
Swimming turtle No Comm
Swimming turtle

Post Date: 11/3/2009

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