Monday, March 8, 2010

St. Mark's River, Fort to Lighthouse

After hemming and hawing a little about where to go for the Geezer's second day we settled on putting in at the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park (the fort) down in the little town of St. Mark's. In addition to the little museum they run there's a public boat ramp and a nice grassy spot which makes for a great kayak launch. I had heard, again from Georgia at The Wilderness Way, that from there you could go about 4 miles downriver to a spoil island that made for a great lunch spot, and then either head back up or carry on towards the wildlife refuge, depending on conditions and your inclinations.

We were on the water around 10:30, slightly before low tide, so we had the last of the outgoing to carry us down. Warm temps and almost no breeze. We found the little island, and it really is a nice spot for a snack, or to overnight (it's designated as a camp site on the FL circumnavigation trail). We decided to go ahead and make the run for the lighthouse to eat lunch. By this point the sea breeze kicked up pretty good, and so that last mile or so was pretty arduous. The corner of the Refuge that you naturally end up at (on the Lighthouse Pool trail) has a fine little sandy beach for pulling onto, and a covered picnic table for lunching, which we took advantage of. After lunch we wandered around the lighthouse a little before heading back upriver. For the trip back up the tide was coming in, and more importantly, the wind was to our back. It chopped the water up pretty good. There are a bunch of oyster bars that are only a few feet wide, but are arranged in long arcs across the river, which can be a hassle for a kayaker, and a nightmare for a motorboat/sailboat, especially at night when you can't see them.

Birds: common loons, American coot, common moorhen, boat-tailed grackle, great egret, great blue heron, snowy egret, laughing gulls and several other gulls and terns, brown pelican, American white pelican (a first sighting for me), cormorant, ring necked duck, and others I'm sure but that's all I can recall right now.

I took a few pictures, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow because I'm tired and full and ready to fall asleep again. Geezer takes off tomorrow and I'm off, so I could paddle, but I don't think I will. A day of relaxing might be pretty nice. Cheers.

Venerable St. Mark's Light, begun in 1829, moved to present location in 1842.

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