– Post 4 of 8 –

A RIVER OF TIME

Georgia to the Gulf, 225 river miles, 10 paddle days

Dowling Park River Camp to Adams Tract River Camp

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Day 6 (Saturday) – Dowling Park River Camp (113 rm) to Adams Tract River Camp (85rm)

Cloudy weather, but sunny – and once again on the river before 830.  Paddling in the early mornings are surrounded by ‘peace.’  the wind is nil while the water is like glass. This morning its an easy stroke along the shady side while pondering the individuality of the docks and stairways of the homes along the way.

It’s a ‘soft’ underlying current – almost a drift, but you still have to paddle leaving it easy to find your own comfortable pace along waters edge.  During the day I move from bank to bank with the shade as the river meanders – sometimes along a course that follows the most direct route, much like a race car driver uses the racetrack – there are always factors to consider, but that of being in a hurry is not one.

In the quiet of the morning several folks are having coffee riverside on their dock – a simple ‘good morning’ as I move further along.  Its the kind of morning that I felt would be the ‘reward’ after the first three days of shoals and rain, finally.  Things seem so simple out here..

There is a campsite in the distance, easing toward the smoke a lone female sits just inside the tent combing her long hair, she repeats a simple “good-morning” – I nod and while wondering if there’s a fisherman nearby, I paddle on.

The surface geology remains apparent but the Suwanne’s shoreline has now become less abrupt and stark.  I sense changes within the nature of the river itself too – the same kind of change that I felt with the Mississippi river after moving on from Greenville, Ms.  It’s the point that rivers ‘open up’ becoming wider, seemingly flater (if possible), while surrounding with that slow ‘lazy feel’ about.

The Suwannee is beginning to show the same changes – with this the banks also bear less fluctuation marks and scarring from the flood waters shooting down from the North, still there are the occasional indications of periodic ravages (and/or poor craftsmanship) along the shoreline.

I imagine most of the trees and cypress are offspring from the swamps of Okefenokee – finding their downstream root after so many thousands of years.  Within the setting are also large domineering oaks – from most hang some sort of rope swing, leading my thoughts to those dated bathing suits.

I explored several natural springs along the way before noticing this one, each adding more quality water to the Suwannee River – so I paddle into this still pondering those dated bathing suits and noticing everything ahead – “the springs Tom, the springs”….

This is Nichole and her family,  just behind them is another part of the springs – her son Morgan had just made his first underwater journey to the main body of water – she mentioned that the name of these springs were “bathtub springs,” they had also arrived by canoe.

Bathtub Springs

Great little family, after simple and friendly conversation I return to the Suwannee noticing the confluence of clear spring water against the tea-colored water of the Suwannee.  It took a few more minutes to refocus on ‘the ‘river’ – sometimes life can be cruel, why can’t we stay young forever?…..

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A few miles down the river this long abandoned Live Oak Perry & Gulf railroad trestle helped to bring me closer to the present day – somewhere along this stretch I had completely missed the Peacock Slough River Camp – no matter, too early to stop anyway – plus after the bathtub springs scenery I needed to keep busy.  Along this area there were also several other shoals to ‘find a line‘ through.

Really beautiful settings along the banks.

After Dowling Park I had considered the Peacock Slough River Camp for the night, but it was a mere 18 mile paddle – Adams Tract River Camp was a 28 mile paddle which worked out better considering my day, at around 4 pm found the camp. and sluggishly drug traveller up the steps.

Adams Tract Showers

Adams Tract Pavilion

I had the camp all to myself for the night – asleep at dark with only a nosy armadillo moving about.

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Facebook post; “Day 6, 28 miles to Adams Tract River Camp, a wider river with occasional clear springs along bank – interesting geological layers (ancient seabeds) and limestone (ancient coral) exposed – along with a gentle current the Suwannee has a natural ‘clean’ feel to it leaving the paddle as comfortable. Maybe a stop in the town of Branford for a real lunch tomorrow.”

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The next day along the Suwannee; 

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note: even though mentioned and shown on available maps – there are NO physical ‘river-mile’ indicators along the river.  For further Suwannee River mileage information, check this link – Suwannee River Mileage, Trip Agenda ideas.

Opinion; Marking existing landmarks such as bridges, ramps, and river camps with a numerical reference would provide basic orientation points (and emergency references) along the river (the Mississippi has them).

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(tomhaynie@yahoo.com)