Florida Keys

Florida Keys
Florida Keys September 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A day paddling the Ichetucknee River


Date: 1/12/2014

Location: Ichetucknee River State Park

We’ve not had the best weather lately here in Florida. On Saturday it rained, the wind blew and it was pretty chilly. Not the best weather to do any outside activities. But on Sunday it was supposed to clear and the temps were projected to rise some. So, we decided to take out the kayaks for the first time in many months.

Last year we kayaked the Ichetucknee River for the first time. We found this to be a beautiful river to paddle, one of the best in Florida that we’ve been on. There’s no development at all along the section of the river we were on, so that make it very peaceful.

There is a north entrance and a south entrance to the Ichetucknee River state park and you can put in at either location. We like to start at the south location, paddle the 3+ miles upstream and then do a leisurely float/paddle back to our starting location. The flow of the river is somewhat strong, but nothing to strenuous for the paddle upstream.

This is the launching point on the north entrance. It’s just below one of the many springs that feed this river. With all the springs along the way, the water in this river is very clear.



The paddling is pretty easy and I think this was the only tree blocking the way, but no problem getting under this one as we made our way back down river.



And what would a day on the water in Florida be without a few sunning turtles. Most of them were pretty brave and didn’t dive into the water as we passed. I think they are very used to seeing humans. During the summer this river is a major tubing run and kayaking / canoeing is not allowed (and you’d probably not want to go even if you could). Late fall, winter and early spring is the time to paddle this river.



We saw a good variety of birds along the way and even saw a few river otters. I wish I could have gotten a picture of them, but they are much to quick.



Although hard to see, this is the Devil’s Eye spring which you can kayak over and take in. A few of the springs are fenced off to prohibit people from entering as a way to preserve them.



Some sections of the river have a ton of air plants up in the trees. The picture below shows one of these areas.




Today’s time on the river was mostly quiet and peaceful, but with the day before being rainy, today had a lot more people on the water. Going upriver we would quickly pass a few groups here and there. But on the way back down we encountered several groups that were very boisterous with lots of yelling and hollering. I guess it’s good that they were having a good time on the water and it’s hard to really get mad at them, but we like the quietness of the river. Sound really travels on the water and we’d hear these groups for a long time before and after we passed them. Not much we could do about it and we enjoyed our time anyway.

This is the docking area at the south end of the river. It’s totally roped off with buoys, so no way you could go by and miss the take out location.



Here is the GPS route showing the north to south track we took as we floated/paddled back down river.

A day kayaking on the Ichetucknee river at EveryTrail

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