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

Report Type: Weekend Trip Report
Trip Dates: January 2005
Nearest City: Macclenny, FL
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: Bob Haavisto

Description:

I have made the trip from St. George, Georgia to Hilliard Florida on the St. Marys River several times and have always found it to be an enjoyable trip. I have been kayaking and canoeing for over 50 years so I think I know how to handle myself on the water but I had a surprise on this trip. I started out at 10 AM on Saturday morning, put in at the St. George, Georgia Bridge. I noticed that the water was much higher than usual (four or five feet) and moving quickly but it looked OK. Within 2 miles down stream I noticed that many trees had been blown into the river from the Fall storms in Florida. The water way and trip is beautiful but the trees and obstructions started to get more challenging as I proceeded. I came up to a corner and before I knew it I was in fast moving water with no place to go but to shoot a small opening where a tree was down. I ended sideways against a branch and over I went into the 60 degree water. I was able to get the kayak beached and changed clothes etc, but had lost my hat and sun glasses and was scratched and shaken up in the dunking. Thank God that I never kayak without a life vest as this could have been very bad. I proceeded down the river and almost got turned over another time in a similar situation but only got a scratch on my forehead.

I camped on sand bar about 15 miles down river from my starting place and had a great evening. There were no clouds and you could see a million stars. I built a fire and dried out some of my wet clothes.

I broke camp the next morning and headed down stream and within an hour I came upon a spot where two trees on each bank had fallen into the river and, after checking it out thoroughly, I portaged the kayak about 100 yards around the trees.

The rest of the trip was for the most part un-eventful and is a wonderful kayak paddle. I would recommend that if a person is not very experienced that they do not make this trip when the water is high. Please check with some of the local outfitters before venturing forth.

Outfitting:

Old Towne Kayak


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