The Trip: Located in the heart of North Florida’s vast forests lies hundreds of large magnitude crystalline springs that feed several outstanding rivers and waterways including the Santa Fe, Suwannee, Ichetucknee, and the Northern Withlacoochee. These springs were featured in National Geographic Magazine in March of 1999. Our base camp will be a brand new lodge at the confluence of the Suwannee and Northern Withlacoochee Rivers. Over the course of the week we will paddle several scenic rivers, go tubing down a spring run, snorkel a host of large springs, and explore an area of Florida rich in history, culture, and unbridled beauty.
The leaders will pick up all participants at noon at Orlando International Airport on the first day. Our meeting place is at the bottom of the escalators by baggage claim 5A. If for any reason your lost or running late please call the leader at 407 924-3375. The leader can only wait so long.
Each day we will pick a new location to explore. Depending on weather we might snorkel a spring to observe the remains of a sunken Confederate war ship or look for fossils and arrowheads. Other days will be spent paddling a gorgeous section of river with lots of opportunities to observe wildlife. We will take our time on the water for swims, birding, snorkeling, and photography. On short paddling days we will incorporate hikes on or near the Florida National Scenic Trail. Each day will present something new to do and see.
In the evening we will return to our lodge for big dinners. Nights are reserved for swims, fishing, relaxing in the springs, or heading out for moonlight strolls. There is no set itinerary, each night at dinner the guides will announce the next days agenda and what to pack to enjoy the day. The guides are always available to answer your questions.
On the trips last day participants will be shuttled back to the Orlando International Airport around 2pm, meaning, all airline flights should be booked for after 4pm.
We will try to visit most of the places listed below:
Suwannee River State Park (SP) Madison Blue Springs SP
Peacock Springs SP Ichetucknee Springs SP
Troy Springs SP Withlacoochee River
Suwannee River Waccissa Springs Unit/River
Santa Fe River Alapaha River
Suwannee Springs Royal Springs
Convict Springs Running Springs
White Springs Swift Creek
Not only is this area of Florida rich in wild beauty, it is also rich in history. For thousands of years Timucuan and Apalache Indians hunted and lived in these areas, leaving behind them tons of evidence of their presence. Pottery shards and arrowheads litter the banks of the upper Suwannee and Santa Fe. The Famous William Bartram explored this area during his “Travels” and wrote about it extensively. In the years prior to statehood, pirates would attack ships in the Gulf and hide up the Suwannee River. It’s a known fact that there is still buried gold at Fowlers Bluff. Scuba divers are always finding Spanish silver and gold throughout the river during low water. During the War Between the States, blue coats would hide along the banks of the river and attack Confederate steamers. There are still remains of such a ship at Troy Spring.
Priceless Florida; Ellie Whitney, D. Bruce Means, and Anne Rudloe
The State of Florida’s Nature and Heritage Center 386.397.4461
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park 386.397.2733
National Geographic Magazine, March 1999
A Naturalist in Florida, a Celebration of Eden; Archie Carr
Travels of William Bartram; William Bartram
Guide to William Bartram’s Travels; Brad Sanders
ABOUT YOUR TRIP LEADER:
Kayaking and the outdoors have been Greg Pflug’s love from an early age. Greg’s adventures began with long-distance backpacking; he even through-hiked the Appalachian Trail as a belated honeymoon. Then he discovered water, and life has never been the same. Greg has dedicated the past fifteen years sharing his love of Florida’s waterways and his desire to preserve them. A Sierra Club leader since 1999, Greg has led over 100 national outings for the organization. Overall, Greg has guided sea-kayaking trips from Patagonia to New Zealand, Alaska to Wyoming. His goal is always two-fold: his child side wants to find the perfect unspoiled waterway, which is tempered by the mature desire to educate people on protecting and restoring the rivers, estuaries, and coast lines that have felt the hand of man. Greg is a certified kayak instructor, outdoor specialist, and wilderness first responder, but he truly takes pride tailoring his trips by removing worry and injecting fun and child-like wonder in the great outdoors. His favorite outings are the Suwannee River, Okefenokee, and the Everglades.