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St. Mary's River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: Aug. 2002
Nearest City: Folkston, GA
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: Bill Jones

Description:

The St. Marys River starts in the Okefenokee Swamp and flows down the border of GA and FL. I was informed that its water is almost 90 percent pure and could actually be consumed.

Without a reservation or even a phone call in advance I arrived at the canoe country outpost, on highway 1 south of Folkston, at 8:30 am Friday morning. I explained to Roger Giddens (owner) that I wanted to rent a kayak and spend a couple of hours on the river. No problem...we will have you on the river by 9am...

Roger and Clyde went to work, cleaned a 13 ft arcadia kayak, cranked up the van, threw in a life jacket and a Paddle and loaded the kayak inside the van. Roger was even nice enough to loan me his hat for the trip. We settled up the rental and decided how far up river I would need to go for a 2-hour trip. Then Clyde and I took off...

The ride and the conversation to drop off was as much fun as the river trip. Clyde is from the area and enjoys his life after retiring. We discussed the area, the river, the wildlife and in the short 20 minute trip I decided Clyde was a good person to know...he dropped me off on a very remote area on a 200 acre tract of private property that only the canoe country outpost was allowed to use outside of the owners family. Unbelievably beautiful area equipped with a shingled boat ramp...you know, covered with old asphalt shingles....it was 9:05 only 35 minutes since I had pulled into the parking lot, now Clyde was driving away leaving me about 5 miles north of take out point at traders hill. Clyde said I couldn't miss it...only boat ramp and dock on the left side of river.

This river was crystal clear, or should I say tea clear. I sat on the river for minute trying to decide which way was down stream...seems the tide was at that moment when it transitions from rising to falling and the river was as still as any lake...headed out and was rewarded with some of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen...cypress knees, moss, clean bright sandbars, deer, ducks, all types of birds, even slid up within 5 feet of a huge redtail hawk that was busy preparing a lizard or a snake for breakfast. When he did notice I was there he came off the bank and flew right over my head less than 5 feet above me...and no I didn't get a picture, had my camera ready but had failed to take off lock...too big a hurry...that'll teach me.

From put in to take out took me less than two hours...wished I had brought my own cheap harmony 230 paddle I had forgot how a few ounces could make a difference on a slow river.

The St. Marys is a beautiful river and Roger and Clyde make you feel like a friend at the canoe country outpost. I look forward to going back and paddling much more of this clean beautiful river.

Accommodations:

I stayed at the Days Inn, in Folkston. I wont ever again, although very clean, very noisy in morning when trucks crank up. Canoe country outpost..904 845 7224..great people who know what they are talking about.

Fees:

If you fish either a GA or FL license are accepted unless you go up a creek then you have to have that states. According to Clyde, which I have no reason to question the validity.

Directions:

Just go to Folkston GA near the Okefenokee Swamp and go south on highway 1. You will go right over the St Marys and as you do look to the left for the outpost.


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