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At first glance, the run looks too narrow to navigate, but it widens in size (rarely more than about 25 feet) as the 7-mile run meanders past ancient cypress trees and lush semi-tropical forests. There are many interesting offshoots and alternate routes. Dead ends can be avoided by following only those routes with apparent flows. The narrow creek is filled with obstacles, and it takes some effort to avoid submerged snags and squeeze under overhanging branches and fallen trees. Due to recent tree falls the run may be blocked and portage over or around the obstacle may be difficult as the run is thickly lined with trees and vegetation. Whether you find these challenges fun or frustrating will depend upon your personal outlook and kayaking skills. I love it.
The 7-mile run takes a leisurely five hours with a lunch break. There are numerous opportunities for swimming or lulling in secluded byways. There is a landing at the halfway point (not easy to get out) that is popular as a lunch stop. All throwaway items must be carried out. Littering is prohibited on the run and violators will be fined.
A shuttle runs between the takeout at the bridge on U.S. Highway 19 and the park. The last shuttle leaves each day at 4:30 p.m. The shuttle is free if you rent a canoe. A "re-haul" ticket can be purchased at the springhead concession building for $5 per person to take those who used their own kayaks back to the park to get their cars. There are restrooms at the takeout, which is also a popular family swimming and play area.
The entrance fee for the park is $4 per person (as of June 2003). There is one parking area for the swimming area at the springhead and another adjacent to a 1/8-mile walkway where kayaks can be unloaded for the 1/8-mile walk on an asphalt walkway to the put-in. There is parking available for vehicles with trailers.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles