Category Archives: Shoals

Pictures: Waterkeepers Florida, Santa Fe River and springs 2024-02-08

We saw many springs, divers, entrances to two big sinkholes (Little and Big Awesome Sucks), many turtles, some alligators, a wood stork, a cattle egret, a hawk, a great blue heron, and some buzzards, as well as many gar and other fish, more cypress knees than you can count, and one very old cypress tree, just below some less than scary shoals.

Perhaps most importantly, nobody was in a hurry to get anywhere. Everybody paddles leisurely, took in the sights, and socialized.

At one of our Friday morning Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) zoom calls, Jen Lomberk, the WKFL chair, asked Suwannee Riverkeeper to organize an outing while we would all be in Gainesville for an annual conference. The nearest Suwannee River Basin River is the Santa Fe, so I called on Doug Jipson of outfitter Rum 138 to shuttle us, and Merillee Malwitz-Jipson of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) to guide us. See also the pictures Merrillee sent.

[Waterkeepers Florida, Santa Fe River, Rum Island to FL 47 2024-02-08]
Waterkeepers Florida, Santa Fe River, Rum Island to FL 47 2024-02-08

Waterkeepers Florida consists of all 15 Waterkeepers of Florida,
https://www.waterkeepersflorida.org

Waterkeeper is the generic name that includes Riverkeepers, all licensed by Waterkeeper Alliance. Suwannee Riverkeeper and St. Marys Riverkeeper are Waterkeepers of both Florida and Georgia.

Eleven WKFL members showed up (some with more than one representative), which is about the usual percentage for the annual gathering. Some of them had never seen a blue spring before. We went to Gilchrist Blue Spring, Devil’s Eye Spring, Ginnie Spring, and numerous more, between Rum Island and FL 47 Ramp in Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park.

Actually, we were going to put in at Rum Island County Park, but it was mysteriously closed that morning. So we put in at Merrilee’s private river access.

When we got to Rum Island, the work at the park was obvious: the incredibly ostentatious orange barrier at the swimming area.

Here are some video snippets:
https://youtu.be/8lzYtVt60ZU?si=Z6Ec8LaVkmM7XmlG Continue reading

Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River, 2024-02-24

Update 2024-02-23: Outing CANCELLED due to high and cold water.

Paddle with us 6.58 miles downstream on dark water with one set of shoals. People have reported seeing blue woodpeckers in the area as well as kingfisher and several others.

When: Gather 9:30 AM, launch 10:30 AM, end 5 PM, Saturday, February 24, 2024

Put In: Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 6499 Knights Ferry Rd, Valdosta, GA 31601, in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.71205, -83.45554

[Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River, 2022-12-17 and 2022-12-03]
Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River, 2022-12-17 and 2022-12-03

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Naylor to Mayday Paddle, Alapaha River 2023-08-12

Update 2023-07-31: After a scouting trip it has been determined this outing is NOT for beginners. The river is low but some of the rocky shoals, ledges and chutes are challenging.

Parking for the takeout at Mayday is soft dirt/sand and not suitable for vehicles that can’t handle rough conditions.

We’re not canceling unless the river drops too low or in case of thunderstorms. We also have some outings coming up that will be more suitable for all paddlers.

Paddle 11.24 miles on the Alapaha from Naylor to Mayday, through significant shoals, past several creeks.

Shirley Kokidko, leading this paddle, says, “I really want the shuttle to begin on time at 9, Mayday is a popular beach and parking is helter skelter.”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman noted, “You can help us solve the mystery of why is Cow Creek always foaming.”

Shirley adds, “Be prepared at the end to climb up the sandhill at Mayday. It’s tough getting boats uphill in the deep sand, I’m not sure wheels are much help.”

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, August 12, 2023

Put In: Naylor Boat Ramp, 6955 US 84 E, Naylor, GA 31641, right bank, west of the river, north of US 84, in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.924282, -83.038427

[River Bend Rapids, Foaming Cow Creek, Naylor Landing Sandhill 2016-05-07]
River Bend Rapids, Foaming Cow Creek, Naylor Landing Sandhill 2016-05-07

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Pictures: Portage Big Shoals, Paddle Little Shoals, Suwannee River 2023-05-20

We saw the lally columns of Old Godwin Bridge, Bell Springs Run, Robinson Creek, Falling Creek, and we portaged around Big Shoals and paddled through Little Shoals, on the Suwannee River to White Springs Wayside Park Ramp, in a WWALS outing, Saturday, May 20, 2023.

[Launch, Big Shoals, Little Shoals, Falling Creek, Wayside Park, Suwannee River 2023-05-20]
Launch, Big Shoals, Little Shoals, Falling Creek, Wayside Park, Suwannee River 2023-05-20

Everyone had a good time in the balmy, breezy, partly-cloudy weather. The White Springs Gauge read 51.5 feet, which was perfect.

Plus a few small alligators.

Thanks to Dennis James Price for leading this one, and for pointing out the excellent lunch spot just below Big Shoals. Continue reading

Big Shoals and Little Shoals, Suwannee River, 2023-05-20

Update 2023-05-30: Pictures: Portage Big Shoals, Paddle Little Shoals, Suwannee River 2023-05-20.

Join us as we portage around Big Shoals, the biggest rapids in Florida, and paddle through Little Shoals on the Suwannee River.

Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County will lead us past the lally columns of Old Godwin Bridge. Two thirds of a mile later, we will take out just before Big Shoals, and portage a quarter mile through the woods. Paddlers in good health should be able to do this. We do not recommend it for small children. We will be portaging: if you want to paddle through Big Shoals, do it on a different trip.

Then we’ll paddle past several creeks, including Bell Springs Run and Falling Creek.

About 3.5 miles downstream from Big Shoals, we’ll paddle through Little Shoals, which can get up to Class II rapids. Plus there’s another little rapid just before the railroad bridge and the US 41 bridge.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Saturday, May 20, 2023

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch, From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County, Florida.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

[Big Shoals pictures from 2021-05-19]
Big Shoals pictures from 2021-05-19

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High and fast: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04

Expedition leader Will Hart says about tomorrow’s paddle from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park on the Withlacoochee River,

“Water levels are higher now than expected when the outing was planned. All of the springs and shoals will be under water at this level, however we are still on to paddle. The river will also be a bit murky with some floating debris due to runoff from the woods. At these levels it is considered “not for beginners” due to the current and fast flow.

“It will also be a little strenuous paddling up the last 1/4 mile at the Suwannee River confluence at this level.”

If you don’t want to try that last quarter mile upstream part, there is an earlier takeout available.

[Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03]
Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03

Follow this link for the rest of the outing details:
https://wwals.net/?p=60888

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

An hour later: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2023-02-02 2023-02-04

Update 2023-02-03: High and fast: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2023-02-04.

Due to predicted cold weather Saturday, please gather an hour later, at 9 AM.

[Melvin Shoals, Allen Ramp, Ellaville Landing --Will Hart 2023-02-02]
Melvin Shoals, Allen Ramp, Ellaville Landing –Will Hart 2023-02-02

Water levels are high, so Melvin Shoals is underwater. But if you don’t want to run the shoals, expedition leader Will Hart is offering an early takeout just upstream at Ellaville Landing, on Twin Rivers State Forest land.

Double Door Spring is an awesome thing to see for those who haven’t seen this part of the wild and beautiful Withlacoochee River. We will pass numerous rocky shoals requiring some skills so this outing may not be appropriate for beginners and young children. There are many other clear springs to explore.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10:30 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 4, 2023

Put In: Allen Ramp, 2726 SW 64th Way Jasper, FL 32052, in Hamilton County, Florida.

GPS: 30.449167, -83.221328 Continue reading

Pictures: Many deadfalls, shark teeth, and rapids: Alapachoochee Adventure 2022-07-09

So many deadfalls, seeps, and things in the Alapahoochee Adventure 2022-07-09 that I’m posting pictures in several parts.

First, here is from GA 135 across the GA-FL line to Beaty Bridge. And it turns out we’ve been spelling it wrong for years: it’s Beaty Bridge with one letter t.

Thanks to Shirley Kokidko for organizing this outing, and for the small but intrepid crew who drove as much as two and a half hours to get there.

[Collage, Alapahoochee Adventures 2022-07-09]
Collage, Alapahoochee Adventures 2022-07-09

Next: Devil Shoal and Turket Falls. Continue reading

Ellaville Tract, Twin Rivers State Forest 2022-12-04

Turns out there are two Withlacoochee River landings inside the Ellaville Tract of the Twin Rivers State Forest.

One I’m calling Ellaville Landing, and it’s the last place to take out before Melvin Shoals.

The other, google maps calls Withlacoochee River Campsite, and it’s only a mile or so upstream from Suwannacoochee Spring.

If you have better names, locations, etc. for either of these, please let everybody know.

[Map: Landings in Ellaville Tract in WLRWT]
Map: Landings in Ellaville Tract in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

The Ellaville Tract is actually owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), whose map of it reveals when you mouse over Ellaville Landing: Continue reading

Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04

Update 2023-02-02: An hour later: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2023-02-02.

Double Door Spring is an awesome thing to see for those who haven’t seen this part of the wild and beautiful Withlacoochee River. We will pass numerous rocky shoals requiring some skills so this outing may not be appropriate for beginners and young children. There are many other clear springs to explore.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 3 PM, Gather 9 AM, launch 10:30 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 4, 2023

Put In: Allen Ramp, 2726 SW 64th Way Jasper, FL 32052, in Hamilton County, Florida.

GPS: 30.449167, -83.221328

Take Out: Suwannee River State Park Ramp, Left bank of the Suwannee River, upstream from Withlacoochee River Confluence, 3631 201st Path, Live Oak, FL 32060, in Suwannee County, Florida.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/outings

Plus $5 per vehicle parking fee payable at SRSP.

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations

Double Door Spring, Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2019-06-01
Double Door Spring, Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2019-06-01

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