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Blackwater River Report
(Kennedy Bridge - Cotton Bridge)


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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 8/5/2010 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 12 photos     Map & Directions: View


An eleven mile paddle from Kennedy Bridge, past Peaden Bridge to Cotton Bridge and Park on SR 4. The water levels were low, and there were nice sandbars along the way. Met swimmers at two of the bridges, no other paddlers on this section but our group.

My Report:

A large group of WFCKC club members turned up at Cotton Bridge for a week-day paddle. Early arrivals started the shuttle with seven vehicles, and another group arrived to unload boats just as we were leaving to take our cars back to Cotton Landing. This was a good plan, because there isn't room for 15 vehicles at the put-in, which includes a gravel circle and room for 3 or 4 vehicles to pull over. Since the Kennedy Bridge landing wasn't busy most of us just parked in the circle.


The last two trip reports on this stretch of river were in April and August 2008 respectively. It was time to revisit this popular paddling stream and see how it was holding up for paddling, especially when one of the liveries, Action on the Blackwater, has been closed for a couple of years. I am happy to report that there has been a lot of cutting of the heavy downfall, and it was completely open, with only one tight spot to get through. With the water levels down, and a slower current than might be present at higher levels, the two other paddlers I was with just used their hands to push through the twisted opening.

The take-out is a long haul across a sandbar and then up a steep paved boat ramp. This boat ramp actually met the river at some distant point in time, but rivers change over the years, and so now the boat ramp ends above the sandbar. There are nice facilities at this boat ramp, a park with picnic tables and pavilions.

The fun part of the paddle was the challenge of getting downstream without hitting all the debris in the stream or getting stranded on a sand or gravel bar. I paddled with two other people who were in kayaks, which has a little deeper draft than my canoe. There was enough water to float our boats without having to get out and drag.

Birds and wildlife were difficult to find, one Great Blue Heron, and a hawk, owl, and a crow were the only birds on the entire trip, and they all were well on their way downstream before I could see them. I didn't see one turtle or gator. There were three species of butterflies along the stream bank. There was the traditional helicopter parade above us. Seems like they follow the river also.

The paddle started at 10:30 and three of us took out at 3:15 and that allowed for three breaks along the way. The last paddlers took out at 4:30. If you are ever up that way, be sure to stop for a sandwich, salad, or ice cream at Gators in Baker. They serve old-fashioned milkshakes with the stemmed glass and the rest of the shake placed on the table in the metal mixing container. Memories of the 50's.and the best hometown restaurant around.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Canoe
Distance (miles): 11
Fees/Costs $: free


Photos from Kennedy Bridge - Cotton Bridge:    (Click image to view full size)

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Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsBlackwater State Forest has camping at Hurricane Lake in two spots, at Bear Lake and Krul Lake. A hiking trail runs about 17 miles from Juniper Creek up to Hurricane Lake.



Post Date: 8/5/2010

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