Part of the Florida Dept of Environment Protection and State Greenways and Trails system, Econfina Creek is a narrow river/creek flowing past limestone cliffs and has abundant freshwater springs to visit. Trail is 22 miles from Scotts Road to Hwy 388.
Econfina (e-con-FINE-ah) Creek begins in Jackson county and flows through Washington and Bay Counties, ending in Deerpoint Lake reservoir in Bay county, source of the county's drinking water. It is almost wholly under NW Water Management District.
(Econfina Creek from Livery) I organized this paddle for out of state paddlers I had met in 2009. They have come back to the panhandle to paddle several times since then. The flowers were in bloom, the weather was perfect, not many other people on the river.
I did some research about "dog deterrents" and decided the device that emits a supersonic noise that dogs can hear but people can't would be the best. There are sprays but they only work within 10 feet, and the danger of the wind blowing it back in my eyes is pretty high when one is in a boat on that narrow part of the stream. Not a lot of room for maneuvering especially with the rocks there. No guns for me thank you!
grat trip report and very timely. I wa thinking of doing the upper section, but will hold off until we get some rain. I'm glad you reported the rock people. Now I'm a bit nervous about this hiking paddler guy carrying a gun.
Did you report them about the rocks or the dogs or both?
Lets put it this way.
They COULD be very nice people that just like living out in the boonies that thought it would be neat to put some big rocks in the creek and would be quite upset to find their normally nice dogs were attacking folks.
At the other extreme they could be major rednecks who think they own the creek, all paddlers are trespassers, their dogs attacking people is funny, anybody who gets bit deserves it, and are running an illegal dog fighting ring out in the boonies for obvious reasons. In either case the authorities need to know about the attacking dogs. These just werent some barking dogs, these were dogs that were barely this side of causing real harm to somebody. I've been wondering if I should carry a gun while paddling. I think i now know the anser that one.
Pnerissa - excellent trip report and loved the tadpole photos! I guess it was an "intensive Labor Day paddle", between the portages, dog attacks, long shuttle times, monster tadpoles and probably UFOs hovering above. Again - excellent adventure and thanks for sharing!
I have encountered those dogs before when the water levels were higher, and they did not come into the water. I am going to figure out a "dog deterrent" to carry with me next time. I think maybe ammonia in a squirt gun which will sting their eyes. There are also some big, mean dogs on the lower part of the Econfina, although I guess with all the livery people going by they haven't actually hurt anyone. Still when dogs rush at you barking furiously one always wonders what might happen.
Nothing could be finer than to be on the Econfina near Youngstown. If you are over near Perry nothing could be freer then to be on the Econfeena. As for the livery driver, he just had a rednecked accent, and couldn't take the trouble to prounounce all the consonants.
Paddlesolo - thanks for the trip report and letting me see Econfina again. It's a great creek to paddle. Why do I have this mad desire to run and jump off the top of the "Eroding Bank"? Something about those tall and sandy bluffs brings out the kid in me. Also - good photo of you at the spring.
Unloading I released the rear line and unfastened the two straps on my Thule car top carrier. The kayak rested on its side in the rack with just the bow tied down. Chris had opened the back hatch which pushed up on the kayak as she was working to unload. Then she reached up and closed the hatch. The kayak bobbled and fell with the bow stilled tied. I was stepping around to untie it at the moment the boat fell. Because of the bowline being attached the boat fell against the side of the car and tore off the driverís rearview mirror. It also dented in both the drivers and passenger doors. Damaging my brand new car made me an emotional mess. I wasn't sure whether to cry or scream. We later called our insurance company from the road on the way back and will drop the car off at the body shop on Monday. The downer is I have a high deductible.
The picture is of a spring fissure on the right when you paddle up the Fenceline spring run. I used a polarized filter. The current generated a cloud of particle matter that boiled out of the opening. You can see that in the photo. I did not try to get over the palm trunk crossing at the head spring. The run there is almost exactly 14 feet wide maybe a few inches less. I know because I had to turn my 14 foot Pungo around at that point.
GPAX - Ouch - "At the livery, my kayak fell off the roof rack and damaged my new car." Otherwise looks like a good trip to Econfina. Excellent photo of Fenceline Spring. On several trips I could never get a decent shot of that one.
I know that a GPS will name springs but not always accurately. There are 13 springs identified as the Gainer Springs Group spread over a large area. The one with all the swimmers that Greg called Gainer Springs is actually what the locals call Emerald Springs.
To find out the specific identification and location with GPS marks google Econfina Springs Inventory. Kristopher Barrios and Angela Chelette did this study for the NW Florida Water Management District. I spoke to Kris once about his identification which is Gainer Springs 1A, 1B all the way up to 1H, and then Gainer Springs 2, 3, 4, 5. He said he couldn't invent enough names for them all.
As I was looking through the hottest places to paddle, I am surprised that the Chipola River rates higher than the Econfina Creek. I have paddled that river many times with several of you folks here at Green Wave. I started with moonlightdesigns. It is truly one of my favorite rivers. Those tadpoles are amazing. I love to watch them poke their heads out of the water. To me nothing compares to Econfina Creek.
I wrote a note to the Game and Fresh Water people asking about the tadpoles and what type of frog they would become. Here is the reply:
"Those would be river frog (Rana heckscheri) tadpoles. They breed in very large numbers along Econfina Creek and its tributaries. The large, black tadpoles are very gregarious, resulting in the formation of schools numbering from hundreds to thousands of individuals. I have personally observed such schools in the Gainer Springs area during most times of the year."
Thanks for the report on one of my faraway favorites that I used to paddle when I lived in Tallahassee and Panama City.
That upper stretch is for advanced paddlers, but I didn't know it when I went up there. Gorgeous and fun! There's even a waterfall. Do be careful and take a few buddies, the water is swift with quite a few obstructions.
Another paddle on the Econfina on May 9 found that the two beaver dams that blocked access to springs across from the Gainer Springs group had been opened. To find these smaller springs, follow the spring run directly across from the Gainer Spring Group. I snorkled over the second one, and another paddler went to the very end of the run, reported that there were several more small springs.
March 11 was another great trip on the Econfina. It's amazing how many springs are located within an easy 3-4 miles from the canoe launch near Pitts Springs (Hwy 20 at Econfina Creek). North of Panama City, FL.