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Blackwater River Report
(Blackwater River at Kennedy Br)

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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 6/1/2012 
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This is a report on an eleven mile paddle from Kennedy Bridge to Cotton Bridge while the river was extremely low.

My Report:

One of the Greenwave readers who uses the information to plan paddles in this area suggested that there needed to be up-to-date information about streams. I will report on the conditions of Blackwater River when it was extremely low, 1 foot according to the USGS website, when 3 feet is the average for this time of year.

The low water levels made this a technical paddle and one in which paddlers had to be very alert for underwater obstructions and carefully read the river to avoid getting grounded on the sandbars or logs which in places nearly extended across the creek. It is the only time I have ever seen shoals caused by underwater logs. The scenic beauty of the stream was affected because all one saw the entire paddle was dead trees and downfall on both sides of the creek. It was an easier paddle in my solo canoe which has a shallow draft, and more difficult for the kayakers, but there weren't too many spots they didn't make it through, even though it often took some effort.

There is a log jam 3.3 miles below Kennedy Bridge which two members of the West Florida Club were working on cutting. They had filled out a permit with the Forest Service to make a 4 ft. wide opening. They were hard at it when the group arrived. We stopped for lunch and to admire their strength, tenacity, and balance. There was a long portage trail around the log jam, which included going over and under a couple large logs, or one could push the boat over all the trees. I hauled most of my stuff down the portage trail, then one of the guys pushed my canoe and some other kayaks over the trees, and I waded upstream and caught the boats, and sent them to others who beached them. I was certainly glad for the assistance.

After the paddle we caught up with the two guys working at getting an opening, and they reported they were successful and one can now paddle through. Keep in mind that conditions could change when the next high water event pushes more downfall into that small opening.

The GPS showed 11.1 miles paddled in 4 hours and 1 minute with and 1 hour and 44 minutes stopped. After lunch we took two additional breaks to swim in some of the deeper spots in the creek and cool down. My advice is check the USGS stream flow table and wait for higher water levels unless you are feeling up to a rambo paddle.

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Location Data:

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

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsGators Cafe in Baker has good food, and the best milkshakes around. I usually stop in and cool down after a paddle.

Post Date: 6/2/2012

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