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Chipola River Report

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Report By:  djskal    Date: 3/30/2010 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 8 photos     Map & Directions: View

Met up with local paddling experts and now friends Frances Stone and Chris Matthews at the Yancey Bridge in Marianna, FL for what was to be a wonderful 13 mile paddle on the Chipola.

My Report:

It was a beautiful spring morning. My son and I had enjoyed the previous day exploring the FL caverns and paddling on Merritts Mill Pond adjacent to our campsite and Arrowhead campgound. I had previously communicated with Frances through email since she was the area expert on the Greenwave. Frances had offered to accompany us on a trip on Tuesday, which we graciously accepted!

We met at the Yancey bridge just before the caverns park. My son and I arrived first and started unloading our kayaks and gear. A few minutes later I was greeted by a very nice gentleman, Chris Matthews, who Frances had invited to join the trip. A short while later, Frances arrived and unloaded her Mohawk Solo Canoe like the paddling pro she is! A few minutes later, we were met by Frances's husband, who offered to shuttle Chris and I to the take out destination so we could drop off our vehicles. Chris owns a very nice piece of property on the Chipola, just down river from the original takeout, so we opted to paddle the extra couple of miles.

I believe that we entered the water around 10 am and headed out on the swollen river. According the Frances and Chris, the river was still up about 2' from its normal water level. The current was swift, but not too fast. The water was not as clear as it would have normally been with the recent rain and associated runoff.

We paddled down aways and admired the beautiful spring colors in the trees and blooming wild flowers along the river. We eventually stopped for a break along a secluded boat ramp. After some potty breaks and chitchat, we headed back on the water. We passed through some very beautiful landscapes, lush forest and high limestone banks. We stopped a short time later to check out a huge single room cave. The entire trip, my son and I were entertained with river stories and history from the area. Both Frances and Chris have logged many many hours on this and so many other Florida rivers.

We eventually stopped at a beautiful spring for lunch. After eating, I decided I was going swimming. Andrew wasn't too far behind! The spring was so crystal clear and although the water was cold, it felt great. We stopped again later at just up the mouth of spring creek, which is the outflow of Merritts mill pond, where we camped. We swam again and even took a few flights off the rope swing.

Along the rest of the trip, we took a few other stops before we ended the trip at Chris's property. I think we were all a bit tired at the end of the trip. We took our time loading everything up and snapped a few pictures. It was a sad ending to a wonderful paddling experience, neither my son or I will soon forget. Nothing beats great company on a great river to make for a memorable trip!

Thank you Frances and Chris!

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 13
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Chipola River:    (Click image to view full size)

Chipola 1 No Comm
Chipola 1
chipola 2 No Comm
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chipola 3 No Comm
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chipola 4 No Comm
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chipola 5 No Comm
chipola 5
Andrew Cave No Comm
Andrew Cave
Paddling Partners No Comm
Paddling Partners
Paddlesolo canoe No Comm
Paddlesolo canoe

Post Date: 4/2/2010

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