excellent trip report. Trip 5/25/02 -
My wife and I have done the upper part of the Suwannee River from Fargo
to Florida State Highway 6 at least 6 times in the last 5 years. It is
indeed a special place. Secluded, peaceful, back to mother nature.
The first trip we made was in a canoe. We put in at Fargo and traveled to
Highway 6 in one day in 8 hours.. It rained at least half of the time.
We both love being on the water and outdoors so it was still an
enjoyable time for us. Following is
information regarding our latest trip.
We started our trip on Saturday, May 25, 2002 on the upper Suwannee
River at Fargo, Georgia. We put in at Noon. Our flotilla consisted of
three Old Town Loon 13.8 Kayaks and one new Wilderness Systems Pungo
(about 12ft). We have been using these Loons for several years and
found them to be really nice for exploring the rivers, streams and lakes
of North Florida. They have a large cockpit which makes it easy to
enter and depart plus great room to move your legs about. They are
rated for 300lbs and are extremely stable.
We studied your web site, read the latest trip reports and paid
particular close attention to your information regarding the water
depth. On our previous trips, we had never made a record of the water
levels so we had no way to compare the depths for our upcoming trip.
We traveled from Tallahassee, Florida in two vehicles for a beautiful
drive on US Highway 90 to Madison, Florida continuing on State Highway 6
to Jasper where we purchased some great barbecue sandwiches at the local
barbecue spot. The goal, early lunch where the Highway crosses the
Suwannee. We were curious of how much water would be present at this
location to assist us in making a decision about being able to paddle in
low water. The water level at White Springs was 50.20 on Saturday,
50.14 on Sunday and 50.11 on Monday. We decided we would try.
As we have done in the past, we inquired of the kind people at their
house about 1/2 mile west of the river if we may leave a car by their
house while we were on the river. Having obtained their permission we
proceeded to Fargo where we unloaded our gear and prepared for our
journey. At this location, we again made arrangements with a family
that lives next to the volunteer fire department in Fargo to leave our
car for safe keeping. We always offer a tip for this service.
Please keep in mind that our kayaks do not draw as much water as a canoe
even though we were packed for three days and two nights of river
adventure. There were four places where we had to get out of our kayaks
and pull them a few feet. The first is the old rock dam just a short
distance from Fargo. The next two were shortly after we passed the
Georgia/Florida border which we determine by seeing the first Florida
government signs on the trees on the west side of the river. The last
shoal was just above the take out point just north of the Highway 6
bridge. You can see this shoal from the bridge.
The current was slow to non existent in most places. Since the water
depth was so shallow we could., except with very few exceptions, never
go straight down the river. We had to always cut back and forth across
the river as we proceeded down river. We all agreed that we enjoyed
this challenge because we had to always be reading the water for snags,
shoals and sand bars. This added some paddling excitement to our trip.
Camping sites abound along the river when it is this low. Long white
sandy beaches. It was warm during the days, but cool enough in the
evenings that you needed to be in your sleeping bag. We assume the
absent of mosquitoes is related to drought conditions. We did
experience some biting yellow flies early in the evening.
The first day on the river we paddled for 2 1/2 hours and encountered no
other people on the water or land. The first nights camp site was a
sand bank about 100 yards long with both shade and sun. The next day we
paddle for 4 hours and passed one couple late in the day in a small
motor boat. After we set up camp in the late afternoon, they passed us
going south very slowly. They ask us if we needed anything and we
responded by saying "It sure would be nice to have ice with our evening
cocktail" which they happily provided.
The last day we paddle for 2 1/2 hours before arriving at our departure
point back at Highway 6. During the last day we passed another canoe
and small john boat at a camp site just north of the Highway 6.
Was a great time to be on the river. Approximately 9 hours of gentle
paddling spread over 3 days. Plenty of camp sites, few people, few
insects, lots of birds and a few wild land animals. Would we do this
again at this water level? Answer, definitely yes. Would we try it if
the White Springs level was below 50.0? Answer, probably not. However,
please keep in mind that everything here is relative. If you are
traveling light, want the river to yourself, look forward to some extra
exercise, you can still do this river at low water levels and have a
Ron, Cecile, Don & Eileen