Local Places, Local Faces
Outdoor activities have been a little challenging this year due to our monsoon summer. So we’ve had to cancel a few but we did recently squeeze in a kayaking trip between rainstorms. It was an incredible day. Terry and I were joined by our 14-year-old nephew William, 12-year-old grandson Riley, and Michelle for an outing on the Weeki Wachee River. Dogs aren’t allowed so Maggie had to stay home and guard the house.
We used our own kayaks–three single and one tandem–and launched from Paddle Adventures which is located behind the parking lot at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. In our group of five, Michelle and Riley were beginner kayakers. But that’s not a problem on the Weeki Wachee–the current is so strong that the river practically does all the work. Paddling is mainly used to get around some tight corners, avoid low hanging foliage, and steer clear of other river users. Because the boys wanted their own kayaks, Terry and I started out in the tandem kayak. I was happily snapping pictures while Terry did the paddling but then we realized that Riley was waaaaaay behind us. So I had to give up my cushy seat to Riley. And that’s when my camera must have gone overboard. None of us actually witnessed that moment but after pulling the kayaks out at the end of the trip and doing a thorough search, I had to accept that my camera was gone. So sad. This little waterproof camera usually accompanies me everywhere. Michelle had an iPhone with a waterproof case so she was then in charge of photography.
The river is beautiful with natural Florida plants and the water is clear. We saw several herons, egrets, mullet, turtles and two manatees. Most of the river is shaded by cypress trees and other tropical growth so even on the hottest day the trip is pleasant. The beginning of the river runs through the state park and after leaving the park property, there are many spots to swim in the river and enjoy the cool water.
If you have your own kayaks, it’s just $6 each to launch from Paddle Adventures. To rent a kayak, which includes a return shuttle from the takeout point, it’s $30. The workers at Paddle Adventures explained the directions and assisted us with putting the kayaks into the water. They will also pull out the kayaks at Rogers Park–the take out point. Signs are posted along the river with mile markers plus at one tricky intersection there’s an arrow pointing to Rogers Park. So even I, who is directionally challenged, couldn’t get lost!
Everyone agreed that it was a great day and that we will be paddling the Weeki Wachee again.