Withlacoochee River North
Feb 7-10, 2005
This was a repeat of the trip I made in April 2003. The river trip started at a county park in GA. on Hwy 41, which is exit 22 on I-75. The river meanders for 69 miles and ends in the Suwannee River near the park ramp.
Monday Chuck R. met me at Suwannee River SP. We loaded his boat and gear on my van and drove up to the put-in. The weather was perfect for the whole trip. Although we did move down the river at an over all average of 4 mph, covering about nine miles on Monday and Thursday, both half days which means we paddled about 25 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The current was very swift. Much of the trip was moving at over 5 mph. There were several shoals that in lower water would have required either walking our boats through or skillful maneuvering. At this water level we could paddle through them. The river is reputed to have sandbars for camping but they were all under water.
We found adequate camping sites each night. The last site is about nine miles from the take out. I marked this on my GPS for future reference.
The local weather report from Chucks TV threatened rain on Wednesday and colder weather. This may have speeded us down the river. As it was we saw about 30 seconds of light rain Wednesday about 6 PM. Thursday morning was probably the warmest but as we moved down the river the wind changed from southerly to from the north and kept getting colder.
We took out about noon on Thursday and drove up to GA. to retrieve my van. It was probably 15-20 degrees cooler then when we started on Monday. It did get down to 30 degrees Thursday evening. Making coffee would have required chipping the ice from my water jug so we were happy to be home Thursday evening.
There is little wild life in S. GA. or N. FL. (on the river) a few turtles and a couple of birds but great scenery. The first ten miles of the trip is paddling through trees and the river is only about 20 feet wide but then it widens to 50-80 ft.
It was a great trip. For reference the water level at McMillan Rd. near Bemis was 6.5, at Hwy 84 near Quitman was 6.8 at Pietta, FL was 9.6 and at Madison was 44. The upper part of the river would be paddleable at about two feet lower.
172 miles YTD 2005
Mohawk Solo 14'
Parking fee of $5/day at Suwannee River SP
I-75 exit 22 onto Hwy 41. Cross river park on right. End at Suwannee River State Park, FL.
Guide to Southern Rivers