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The Green Swamp

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by FlaMike, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    I FINALLY stopped procrastinating and put the Glade Skiff back in the water so I could start exploring the Green Swamp. Now this is a pretty good-sized piece or real estate, and I’ll be looking around the South Eastern part that is bordered by the Withlacoochee River. Depending upon the time of year and the location, this river can be something you can more-or-less step over, with other parts that much wider than I’d ever want to try to swim across. And it tends to wander all over the place with very few straight parts in it. And to top it off, the darned thing flows “uphill.” I mean to say it flows North more than any other direction. North, and eventually to the West, so it does wind up emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.

    It also flows through a lot of Florida history.

    The water level was quite high. In fact, it was kind of hard to pick out just where the actual river was! There is a dock at the canoe launch, but it was closed off, as the water was just about even with the decking. The river was well out of its banks, making for a lot of interesting snags. And I was kind of surprised at the rate of flow. That, along with old downed (and drowned) trees, made for a couple of interesting and educational moments.

    But, I got pics!!!! :D

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    Glade Skiff on the cart and ready to launch.

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    Just needs a push! No, actually, I lifted the skiff off the cart and locked the cart up in the truck. All but the last foot of the boat was in the water, floating, so I could just step right up on the poling platform without getting my feet wet. Just a couple of steps forward, the bow goes down an inch or two, and the stern is lifted off the bank. All it takes is a little nudge with the push pole or a paddle, and I’m under weigh! Just a couple of careful steps back and I’m either standing on the poling platform working the pole, or sitting on the forward edge of the platform which makes a pretty good paddling seat.

    Unless, of course, I’m somewhere behind the boat, trying to figure out what just went wrong! That hasn’t happened yet, but I hear it’s just a matter of time.

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    I think it’s the black water, from the tannin, that makes the reflections so nice!

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    Cypress and Oaks. And a river in there somewhere.

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    Just about the only wildlife that kept still long enough for me to get a picture of it!

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    Well, that bird and this mushroom. . . I do wish this pic had come out a little better. I was rather taken by the sharp contrast of that very, very white mushroom against the dark of the tree.

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    Here, I’d moved off of the river itself and more into the swamp to get out of the current for a rest. That’s when I noticed the repeating pattern of the trees and their reflections. To my eye, there’s something a little Zen about this scene. . .

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    I think this was a little grassy hilltop until the river overflowed.

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    I’d have a hard time calling it a swamp without plenty of these! In any of its variations, the Cypress is pretty much my favorite tree.

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    And I guess that would explain the above photo. Cypress. Trees and knees! If you notice the flow of water through those trees, I have to tell you it’s a little deceptive. I got hung up three times going through parts like this. It doesn’t take much of a flow to trap a small boat against submerged or partially submerged objects. And if you aren’t careful, it would be very easy to have a trapped boat rolled under. NOT a good thing. It could wreck your whole day.
    But it is beautiful back in there.

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    Just drifting back down to the launch point. That makes starting out going upstream worth the effort. The return trip involved little more than just steering. The river does the rest.

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    More of my favorite trees! As high as the water was, it’s clear that it can (and has,) get even higher. By 3 to 5 feet from what I’ve seen on the trees.

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    This is the other side of the Oak seen in the third photo. Which means I’m closing in on the end of the trip.

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    Once I passed under that arch, I could see my launch point. Landing turned out to be as easy as the launch was. Just backed in, shifted weight forward to raise the stern and once the boat stopped, stand up, step right off the back on to dry land, feet still dry!

    It was really good to be back on the water, and back “out in the middle of nowhere.” I really do enjoy these solo trips. I know that one of these days, I’m going to have to think about taking someone along and giving up the solo part. It would be the smart thing to do. (So I hear, anyway.) There are many miles of that river flowing along and through that swamp. Lots of different kinds of terrain, some springs along the way, and eventually into the Gulf. Lots to see and do.
    But for now, I should be making another solo trip tomorrow, weather permitting. In fact, the boat is still loaded up and ready to go. But not back to the swamp so soon, something different. A couple of creeks come together, just in time to meet the Gulf. Should be a nice little mangrove-lined bayou emptying into some saltwater flats. I’ll let you know!

    Still got some boats that need building. But before I go back to the Pirogues, there’s at least one more traditional old Florida boat to be built. This one will be a lot shorter that the Glade Skiff, and hopefully, a lot lighter, too!

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     
  2. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Mike, sounds as though you needed some solitude, ehh? Mother Nature is good formthat.
     
  3. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Mr. Jack,

    Don't know if its me needing solitude so much as it is me proving to myself that I can take care of myself, do whatever needs to be done, without having to depend upon someone else.

    I am not a hermit, no matter what my wife might tell you, its just that I am quite comfortable being my own company.

    If I could, I'd like nothing more than to meet everybody on this Forum! OK, maybe not everybody all at once. A couple at a time, here or there, maybe another one or two, a little later on. . .

    Thing is, every time I've taken myself out there somewhere, I've always brought me back. 8)

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     
  4. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    While I'm a believer in the benefits of the buddy system, I do understand your drive to be self-teliant. Good on ya!
     
  5. catfish

    catfish Well-Known Member

    mike looks like you had a good time. pretty water, I like company but I also like solitude sometimes too.
     
  6. jdupre'

    jdupre' Well-Known Member

    Great trip report, Mike. Very nice pics too. Reminds me a lot of my part of the country. The cypress trees, especially the huge hollow ones left by the loggers, are my favorite trees, also.

    I go out by myself most of the time, too. It gives me more freedom for SET's ...... spontaneous exploration tangets. After several decades of exploring my home waters, I'll still come across something that is very rare or something I've never seen before.

    Keep the reports coming.

    Joey
     
  7. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    Mike......
    In one of the pictures ( picture #9 ) it appears there is some high ground a person could camp on. It surprises me that you did not take a close look at it since it would make a good getaway for you.

    As far as paddling solo............
    Paddling with a group or just one other person is nice but for me it is the solo trips. I guess it is because growing up around here for a long time there was no one else to go with so I got into the solo canoeing and camping. Later there were three of us that like to hit the woods and water.
    Going solo you don't have to worry about anyone but yourself and you can do what you want , when you want , where you want and there is no ones feeling's to get hurt. You can paddle along nice and quietly , camp quietly and see all sorts of wildlife since there is no reason for any conversation or noise.
    I like to joke about my solo trips saying that the three of us are going , Me , Myself and I. :lol:

    Don't get me wrong I have had a lot of really good times paddling and camping with others and enjoyed every minute of those trips. They were planned trips with a set date to meet and go and even to return. As far as last minute ( spur of the moment ) ones , the grab your stuff and go it is always just me. Heck there even have been some planned ( just for me ) trips which were solo ones. :roll:
     
  8. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Well, good! Glad to hear that I'm not alone in my being alone. I'm mean, it's good that everyone is with me in not, uh, I mean. . . Oh never mind! :mrgreen:

    I think I'll just keep on doing what I do.

    What I wanted to do today was make another trip, but that one got rained out. I'd just left the house when I saw the line of clouds coming my way from the Gulf, where I was headed. Got the boat back to the house and almost made the front door before it started coming down. Thought I'd try again a little later, but it started raining again.

    But I'd rather do that, than just sit around the house waiting for rain that doesn't seem to come. That's what I'd been doing too much of. Tomorrow is another day, I'll give it another try.

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     

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