My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Paddling with Julie on South Prong of Black Creek

My new friend Julie and I had such a great time on our campout trip on the Altamaha River that she invited me to come visit her family on my way back to Texas. She lives only a few miles south of I-10 in Florida, so the only problem I had was pushing up my packing schedule.  So instead of packing up after I finished working, I packed up each day after work and cleared an extra day and two nights.

I enjoyed visiting with her lovely family.  Her husband grilled venison for supper while Julie made the vegetables. Then I got in a good night's sleep. She had forgotten that she had a mandatory work meeting so I planned to entertain myself in the morning. I worked on editing pictures since I was several albums behind, then decided to take her chocolate lab for a walk.  I found a trail that went through the woods around her neighborhood.  By the time I found the other end of the trail, I had walked two miles and found myself over three miles away from her house.  We kept walking faster and faster because it we after 11:00 A.M. and I was in charge of getting our lunch ready. I  was still getting things ready when Julie came home but we soon had everything loaded.

Julie wanted to take me to a popular stream that comes from a big spring. But we didn't think we could get a shuttle after we got there, so decided to paddle a little stream, called South Prong of Black Creek.
(This creek empties into the St. John River.)  She found a friend willing to pick up up at the bridge after the one where we put in.

This was a lovely little stream with steep banks and a few obstructions. The water was tannic - its color reminded me of hibiscus tea - and the bottom and sides were sandy. The water was too cool to swim in, but not so cold that wading was a problem when we had to pull our kayaks over obstructions.

View at the start

The first several miles looked like this

Trees along the river fight to keep their soil - and sometimes lose that fight

Oh, the peace of being on this wild, but quiet river

One of the spots where we had a pull-over

Julie's picture of me going under a natural arch

A magnificent old cypress

The beautiful sandy bottom, reddish tannic water, and reflections

One of the few times I got to photograph Julie from the front

We took a break on this sandy bank. There was an old hunting camp at the top of it. 

Another river view

One of the springs that puts water into this creek

Trees hanging on with a big root system

After several miles, we started seeing houses along the river.  At first they were more like cabins.  But as we neared the bridge where we took out, the houses got bigger and bigger, as did the docks and boats in front of them.

Think this is a red-neck dock - turned upside down by recent high water

I found smoke tree growing along the river

One of several big houses near the end of the trip

Julie thought this was a seven mile trip.  But I was averaging over two miles per hour so think it was more like 13 - 15 miles.  Only the last three or four had development along the river.

Thanks, Julie for such a wonderful goodbye present.