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Solo Kayak Overnight - Withalacoochee

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.
  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 0
Be mindful of the Stateline Shoals. Depending on the water conditions, they could be tricky and dangerous.
Hammock - no tent. Fishing Gear (unused).
Water debt was around 4ft at Highway 84. Day Temp: High 70s/Low 80s. Night Temp: 50s.

Locations on this Trip