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Solo Kayak Overnight - Withalacoochee

by  Rintrah

A self-supported trip created by Rintrah

Trip Overview

I'd never been kayaking or solo camping before this trip so I was a little anxious prior to setting off. I put in at the Knight's Landing Boat ramp, which is in the middle of nowhere down a long dirt road. Apparently this is a local party spot on the weekends, but it was empty when I put in (around 3pm). My wife and dogs watched me paddle away until I was out of sight. Before long, the solitude and remoteness of the river overtook me. I've been on many rivers, many times, but always on motored boats. The near-silence of the Kayak made the experience so much more intimate. Everything was in spring-bloom. Tupelo trees, Swamp Cypress, and Swamp Oaks laden with spanish moss shaded the river. Turtles sunning on the limestone banks dove into the river as I passed by while birds filled the air with song. This was my first time on the Withalachooche and I must say this is a particularly beautiful river. I camped the first night after only paddling a couple of hours. I found a wooded sandbar with ample space to hang my hammock and light a fire. That night was pretty damn cold and I had to wake up several times to rebuild the fire. A possum came crashing through the woods around 3am and sounded like some huge beast trampling through the forest. Morning finally came and I broke camp and began paddling by 7 am. A light fog hung over the water but soon dissipated. I saw one fishing boat up from the Nankin Landing and this proved to be the only other person I encountered on the river. Around lunch, I found McIntyre Spring on the right (west) side of the river. It was a wild, completely undeveloped spring with some deadfall in the water around it. I swam for a little bit. The water was cold and clear, but the darkness of the underwater cave beneath me was a little unnerving. Next, I came upon the Stateline Shoals (as their known locally) which proved to be exhilarating. The water really speeds up here. I went over a couple of small waterfalls with no trouble. These limestone shoals are why the river in this section is so isolated I figured, as boats with a motor would not be able to pass over them at this water level. I finally made it to Mozell Spells boat landing around 4pm where my wife picked me up. There was a family there kayaking when I arrived. All and all, it was a great trip and experience and I can't wait to do it again. In hindsight, I probably brought too much crap I didn't need and could have packed lighter. I would also wait until the weather warms up a little more next time, the nights and mornings were cold.

Safety Notes

Be mindful of the Stateline Shoals. Depending on the water conditions, they could be tricky and dangerous.

Gear Notes

Hammock - no tent. Fishing Gear (unused).

Conditions

Water debt was around 4ft at Highway 84. Day Temp: High 70s/Low 80s. Night Temp: 50s.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 4/7/2017-4/8/2017
  • Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location