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Econfina Creek Report
(Econfina Creek at Walsingham)


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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 3/5/2010 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 6 photos     Map & Directions: View


This paddle took place on a stretch of Econfina Creek from Walsingham Bridge down to SR 20. It includes springs along the way from small ones, to Washington Blue Springs, Williford Springs, Sylvan Springs, Pitt Spring, and more unnamed small springs.

My Report:

I had only paddled this stretch of Econfina Creek once last October, and was anxious to paddle it again and enjoy the beauty and challenge of this stretch of water. Finally the weather was going to be sunny, I had checked the water levels, and they weren't too high, and I had a group of avid paddlers visiting from Pennsylvania that wanted to see this section of the Econfina. There were a total of 11 paddlers, some in solo canoes, one kayak, and two couples in tandem canoes.


The nights have been nippy up in the northern part of Florida and when I went out to leave at 7:30 a.m. there was still frost on the gunnels of my canoe. I knew by the time we arrived, and completed the shuttle that it would have warmed up considerably. I lead paddlers from Marianna over to the parking area at the SR 20 Canoe Launch and the rest of the group met us there. We transferred several boats to a trailer that one paddler had, and were off down the dirt roads of the Econfina Wildlife Management Area. With a little friendly cooperation we were quickly on the water and started downstream.

I had expected pullovers and downfall on this section because it isn't used heavily by paddlers, and we hadn't gone far before we reached the first tree blocking the creek. I got in the water and pushed my boat over, another paddler held it for me while I scrambled up the bank and down to a spot where I could re-enter. Two of the fellows whipped out hand saws and opened up a spot for other paddlers. There were a total of three pullovers and each time an opening was created. I am happy to report that nylon paddling pants and polypropolyene underwear worn with neoprene booties and wool socks do not hold water, and I stayed warm on the paddle even though I had entered water above my knees.

The creek had just enough curves, obstructions and current to make the paddle interesting; not too difficult, but enough of a challenge that paddlers needed to stay alert.
We paddled up the spring run to Washington Blue Springs and saw the giant tadpoles in the spring basin. A few violets were peeking up through the dead, brown leaves, and we also saw wild blueberries in bloom. We visited Willford Springs, the Sylvan Springs area, and peeked through the concrete barriers at Pitt Springs. This spring is going to be restored to its natural state this summer, with the rock wall and steps removed and the small dock on the west side of the creek improved for better boat launching.

This paddle ended at the infamous floating dock on the east side of the creek at SR 20. A helpful paddler gave me instructions how to swing my legs out of the canoe, place both feet on the ladder and stand up on the steps. That part worked fine, but I still had trouble pulling myself up to the dock; but a few choice words seemed to give me the energy I needed and I made it! All that was left was to take 5 drivers back to Walsingham Bridge to get their vehicles. They got in the front and back of my pick-up and the mission was accomplished.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Canoe
Distance (miles): 8.5
Fees/Costs $: free


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

Frost on the Gunnels No Comm
Frost on the Gunnels
Put-In No Comm
Put-In

This is the put-in at Walsingham Bridge with a camping/picnic area and canoe launch.

Spring Run No Comm
Spring Run
Violets No Comm
Violets
Blue Springs No Comm
Blue Springs

There are so many Blue Springs in the state that they are named for the county in which they are located, hence Washington Blue Springs.

Cypress Knees No Comm
Cypress Knees

There was a very old Cypress tree in the middle of the creek with some of the largest Cypress Knees that I have seen.

 


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsThe reason the distance came out to be 8.5 miles and on an earlier report it is listed as 7.4 miles was that we spent a lot of time paddling up spring runs and exploring the spring areas.



Post Date: 3/7/2010

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