March 9, 2017
Staying in Olena State Park, just across the border into Florida, we put in with an outfitter below the bridge on Rt 414 and rented a kayak for me. The water in this river is very low right now. Carrying my camera gear, I was lucky not to get stuck or turn over as there was nowhere to put the camera. Shooting pictures in a kayak can be challenging. Without a keel, the boat soon turns sideways when you stop paddling. A bright, sunny day brought out every turtle in the river, and there are tons of them. We also saw egrets, herons and a bunch of hawks. There are springs bubbling up along the river, oozing out clear, cool water at 72 degrees. A lot of people were fishing, but no one seemed to be catching. With the water low, we paddled the whole way in order to make our 3-hour time for pick-up, but that’s some great upper body exercise. My rental boat kept collecting water and got heavy by the end of the day.
This is a very pretty river and was our introduction to kayaking spring-fed rivers and creeks of Florida. We would learn you could make a whole trip centered around kayaking springs.