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Guests at the Hamilton Mansion (Part 2)
So when he came to visit I had to of course find some sort of challenging adventure. We had already mountain biked the trails here a few years back but had not gone up to the Blackwater State Forest to kayak the streams up there. Inherently they are not very challenging. They are windy, deep and narrow with a nice current. Crystal clear with the same white sand we have on our beaches as sand bars and bottom with dense vegetation surrounding the banks. They are beautiful water ways.
What made this adventure challenging was the fact that for the first 3 miles they had not cleared out the trees that had fallen from hurricane Ivan. So we had to stand on the two person kayak and clear branches or slide the kayak under trees and walk over them at the same time. Many times the kayak had to be pull and drug across the logs. We rarely could walk on the bottom or on the banks, so everything had to be done from the unstable and precarious position of on the slippery trees or the moving kayak.
The trees posed there own danger as the were full of what we term “impalers”. where the branches had broken off there were about 1-2 foot long sharp edged protruding remains. They could easily puncture a foot, hand or abdomen. So falling could literally prove fatal. It was not a good thought, we treaded extra carefully. I did manage to get impaled by one on my foot and I bled like a stuck pig, good thing they were no piranhas!
Halfway into the thick of it while going under debris and branches, Dave suddenly screamed like a girl! “SNAKE!” “SNAKE!” I immediately pulled us back and saw what he was talking about. There was a water moccasin perched in the branches just a foot from his face at the time. They could have been very bad news. From then on we looked very hard before going under trees and branches.The hardest section came about 100 yards from where it opened up, but t was a 20 yard stretch of log after log, we had to climbed over them all pulling the kayak at times and other times float it under. It was enoguht o almost break our will.
After 2 hours of that crap we finally emerged onto Juniper Creek where a local outfitter does tours sometimes so they keep it clear. The rest of the 8 miles was clear sailing but we had to paddle the entire time because we lost so much time in the log section.
The part that really was painful was after we got finished we still had to ride our bikes, which we stashed earlier, back to the Van. And let me tell you, Florida may seem flat until you get on a bike to ride 9 miles after kayaking 11 miles.
But it made the cold beer we had at the van taste that much better :)
I had a great time that week with both of my friends, and hope to have others come visit soon. *hint-hint*