Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wacissa Spring to Goose Pasture

This one is going to be short and sweet because I've had a full day on the water and I'm full of dinner and a cocktail or two and I'm about to crawl into bed for what's bound to be a very restful night of sleep.

My very good friend and former coworker from SMKC days, Mike aka The Geezer, is down visiting for a couple days. He got in last night and we made plans to do the whole Wacissa River today, which is about 10 miles. So this morning we loaded up two cars and he and Aimee and I drove out to the spring (about a thirty minute drive) and unloaded. Then we set up the shuttle, which is a pain in the ass. From the spring it's 15 miles on FL 59 to the coastal highway (98), and then a few miles to cross the Aucilla and turn down some poorly maintained and unmarked sandy roads to the take out at Goose Pasture Recreation Area. It's about 45 mins each way, when you know exactly where you're going, which is tough without the signs (it's not impossible, but I was glad there were a couple people along the way to tell me I was headed down the correct road; important note: when you get to the fork on Goose Pasture Rd you want to stay to the left). The morning started off very chilly (frost on the cars) but warmed up so it was comfortable for Aimee to watch the stuff and read a book and watch birds while we set up the shuttle. We finally got launched a little after 11.

The river was beautiful; pretty clear despite all the recent rain. Temperature was perfect at 65 F and there was just a little S wind every now and then in the open sections. We checked Big Blue Spring for a sec and then headed downriver. Found a lunch spot just above the old dam about halfway down for a nice break in the shady woods. Finally pulled into Goose Pasture at about 4. Along the way we saw a few gators, lots of big turtles (cooters? I'll have to check the books tomorrow), little blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, common moorhen, American coot, kingfisher, red shouldered hawk, greater yellowlegs, eastern phoebe, brown pelican, cormorant, turkey vulture, heard a few barred owls (who cooks for you!?). The great egrets are in their breeding plumage and have long delicate plumes and bright green lores. They were nearly driven to extinction at the turn of the 20th century for those plumes because ladies just had to have fashionable hats.

After we pulled out Aimee spent another hour or so patiently waiting on us to get Mike's car back down there to load up. It's a great trip but a very involved shuttle. Not one I'd want to do real regularly for that reason, but the river itself is lovely.

Big thanks to Georgia at The Wilderness Way who graciously answered all my questions and offered advice and unsolicited updates on the status of the dirt roads at Goose Pasture. Go rent a kayak or take a trip with them.

Now to bed to rest up for another one tomorrow. Cheers.

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