Sunday, January 18, 2015

Paddle (almost) to the Sea

One of my favorite activities to do while on vacation is rent a canoe and explore the area. I love the quietness of the adventure. Wildlife have no fear of dripping oars, and usually I'm treated to some special sighting of some animal. For years I've daydreamed about having a canoe for our family. This week, that dream was fulfilled when hubby and I purchased an Old Town Canoe, the Saranac 160. A green, 16-foot behemoth, this canoe promises lots of future adventures for our family. We went on our first one yesterday.

Dearest Daughter dressed for fun!
Not far from our house, about five minutes by car, is a put-in spot for the Bartram Canoe Trail, and I had often driven by it and dreamed of a day when our family could explore it. The canoe only holds three people, so Brett and I took our daughter for the first outing. We loaded up the canoe on top of the Highlander, drove on over and turned down under the bridge.
One of two entrance spots
It was a beautiful but chilly day. The sun was out for the first time in over a week. We eagerly unloaded the canoe and set out for a little adventure.
Our first view on the water

The still water made for beautiful reflections!

Why yes, that is my trusty Tom Bihn Synapse 19, hard at work!
The Saranac 160 is called the mini van of canoes, and it's easy to see why. Although it's heavy, it is stable and tracks well. There's plenty of on-board storage, and each of us had a nice hot beverage sitting in a cup holder next to us. My iPhone sat close by in a dry well...just in case. There are convenient places to put fishing rods, although we didn't bring any. Our mission was strictly exploration, fun, and photography. Serendipitously, my daughter had a photography assignment for the week to capture reflections in water. I would say she succeeded! This trip was full of beautiful photographic moments featuring reflections!

While on the water we were treated to seeing birds, squirrels, one water moccasin (could have done without that one) and even a loud beaver busily at work!
Very happy paddlers!
The trail we were on will carry you eventually to Durbin Creek. From there it opens to the St. Johns River, which is an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. We only explored about a mile or so out from the put-in, but I'm looking forward to further adventures in future days.
On the return trip to home
We have so many places we want to explore now. Once duck season is done, one of the first will be the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Estuarine Research Reserve, which serves as a nursery for many forms of marine life, including dolphins and manatees. I've purchased a couple of canoe and kayak guides to get us started. I am amazed at how many places there are within a short drive from our home. Adventure awaits! It's time to get paddling!

Here's a map of our adventures, for any who may be interested.

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