Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida

Weeki Wachee Springs starts at a big Florida State Park famous for mermaids.  Behind the state park, Paddling Adventure rents kayaks to folks to ride the spring waters down to Rodgers Park.  In 2012, we just that.  On the way down stream we met several canoes and kayaks headed upstream.  And that seemed like much more fun, working against the steady  1.5 knot current, then riding the cool waters back to the start.

  So this year we started at Rodgers Park, about 4 miles down from the beginning, and began paddling upstream.

  We started early, because the air was cooler and so we wouldn't have to dodge downstream kayaks.

  The paddle began pleasantly enough, we paddled by an array of canals providing water-access to various neighborhoods.  Along the main river, folks sat out enjoying leisurely Sunday morning coffees while overlooking the river.  If they were annoyed to see paddlers disturbing their breakfasts, they were gracious enough to keep it to themselves.

   But as we reached the edge of the development, where the wider stream capable of hosting motorboats faded into the more natural river we had to work harder.  The current was strong, and the stream narrow.  The edges, where the current should be less, were blocked from our use, either by low branches, or shallow water, which couldn't accommodate our 9 inch fins.

  By about two miles up, beating against the stream had lost its luster, so we turned around and flew back.
Headed downstream, the river is a 3-4 feet deep, not the few inches it appears in this photo
   I did feel that we might not have had the right boats for this adventure.  To keep up our gains against the current we did wind up needing to sit/kneel a good bit of the time.  We wound up doing about 4 miles in total, which is pretty standard for a paddleboard venture, but I knew with kayaks we'd have made it further.
   On the plus side, our boats were very light and we were able to store them inside our van.  Although they weren't ideal for this water, we were able to be on the Weeki Wachee before it was too hot, and before the river was filled with canoes and kayaks headed both directions; and I did feel like I'd put enough effort out to deserve a swift ride downstream.
Fishing boat with 2 dogs.  This was followed closely by 2 canoes, with 2 dogs each. 
Rodgers Park:  http://www.co.hernando.fl.us/parks_rec/Parks/Park_detail.asp?Key=22
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park http://www.weekiwachee.com/
Paddling Adventure :  http://www.paddlingadventures.com/

Summary:  Launch: 8:45 AM from Rodgers Park, finish 10:30AM   4.2 miles.  Launch from Rodgers Park, fee to use, toilets, picnic area and swimming available.


  1. Funny to hear worries about the "heat"

    1. True; especially with a cold front due. You and Kelley stay warm!