Way Down Upon the Suwannee River (and I mean way down)

2014-11-14 Suwannee Canoe Trip 3

Canoe camping trip on the Suwannee River – the river was about 20-30 ft below the shore line that’s the way down part.
We could see the roots of the cypress trees and there were beaches that would normally be the sandy bottom of the river. But what a beautiful river so old Florida.

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I have an app on my phone The Official Florida State Parks & Beaches Pocket Ranger.
It was a great way to find places to camp. I started with the idea that I wanted us to canoe for the day then stop and camp. So I needed a river that has lots of river camps or that you can just camp along the river as long as there’s not a no trespassing sign. I also didn’t want a busy river with lots of motor boats.

Step 1
Pick your river

Step 2
Get a map of the river with boat ramps, state parks, and river camps noted

Step 3
Figure out the distance between each possible camp site so you can figure out
where you will be starting, camping each night, and ending.

Step 4
We don’t have a canoe and I didn’t want to deal with taking 2 cars for put in and pickup so
I found an outfitter near the put in location.
American Canoe Adventures
$25 per day to rent a canoe overnight and a fee to drop us off and pick us up.

Step 5
Pack your shit and go camping!

Camping Pack List
(it’s not everything, but it’s a good start)

 Each of the river camps were very rustic and you couldn’t drive to them they were just accessible by the river. They had a place to dock your canoe, a fire ring with a grill on it, a grill for charcoal, a picnic table, bathrooms with showers that were very clean and nice with outlets so we could charge our phones, and a raised platform that was covered and screened in that was free to use if you didn’t have a tent. You would definitely want to reserve it though because it wasn’t very big. The link above for the map has a page with info about reserving the platforms.

The boat ramps had a fire ring, picnic tables and some had port-o-potties.

The state parks had everything the river camps had but of course you could drive to them and they had state park type facilities and you could rent canoes from them. There were lots of people at the state parks vs. no one at the river camp or boat ramps.

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This is the fire ring at Woods Ferry River Camp. It was 31 degrees that night – too stinking cold for Floridians in tents! It was so cold I seriously forgot I was in Florida – Rusty.

Pack as light as you can you have to carry everything with you each day. We packed our stuff that couldn’t get wet like the sleeping bags and our clothes in dry bags – I like the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags. You’ll need the 35 liter or bigger to pack your stuff in. You want everything in that bag so if you tip it all stays dry.

Another very nifty item was the solar phone chargers I bought. I know you’re thinking but you were camping why did you need your phone. I used it for weather, the gps, and our plans changed the second day and we needed to contact the outfitters to locate a new pick up site.

The chargers can be charged using a usb cable and an outlet but they also charge with a solar panel. They are water-resistant was well so you just clip them onto your pack and they charge all day. It took about 30 minutes to completely recharge my phone and about 2 hours to recharge the charger with the solar panel. They worked perfectly.

Levin Solstar Solar Panel Charger 6000mAh.

Levin solar chargers

You could use them at a theme park or day hike or anywhere you will be gone all day and won’t have access to an outlet to charge your phone.

For food you want to bring mostly stuff that doesn’t need to be chilled. If it’s cold outside you can bring a small cooler (remember you want to pack light so a soft smaller cooler) with ice in Ziploc bags so everything doesn’t get wet – but I would limit the chilled stuff.

Blake brought hobo packs – turkey meatballs, corn, and potatoes with onion, butter, and seasoning wrapped in foil then cooked over the fire they were great and didn’t take long to make.

He also brought Progresso Chili in a pouch, it comes in a regular beef and pork red chili and a chicken white bean chili both delicious. Lighter and easier to pack then a can. He pre-chopped green onion, tomatoes, and shredded cheese that we stored in the cooler. Heat the chili in a pan on your camp stove and add the topping and you’re good to go.

Use the fire or your camp stove for breakfast and dinner and pack a lunch in the mornings to have during the day while you’re canoeing. For snacks in the canoe be sure to make them easily accessible you don’t want to be messing around when you’re on the water.

Bring enough firewood for a fire in the morning and at night for at least 6 hours.

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That wall is usually only about a foot out of the water. That’s an old turn of the century spring that people used to come soak in. The supports for the bridge had branches from when the water was high caught in them 10 feet below the bridge.

Had a great time with great friends –

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