Wacissa River, FL

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Wonder of wonders, I got a free day! But what to do? Ride the couch and watch sci-fi? Tempting but no. I made arrangements to get on the water. Getting two boats on the truck is a pain. Maybe there’s a better way, but maybe not. Just gotta reach under the boats to get the inside strap around the roof rack bar a few times. My straps are 15’ which is too long. I tried securing both boats with one strap but that was unsatisfactory. Time to cut the straps to size.

It was a gorgeous day, and not too busy at the launch. Although some great outdoorsman was blasting his radio. While unloading kayaks. Wouldn’t have been so bad if it was good music, but alas, it was not. We set to unloading. There was a group of folks waiting at the launch, either for more of their party, or something or other. As I carried the first canoe off the truck to the launch, one of them observed “That must be Kevlar” to which I replied in the affirmative. My friend paddled the Wenonah Prism and I the Northstar Polaris.

Directly we found our first lizard. We could also hear them bellowing in the distance.

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Back out in the middle of the river, what a gorgeous day; smooth, almost no one else on the river.

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As we went with the current, not in a hurry, I kept working on my paddlin skills. I finally “got” what Glenn was trying to convey about the inwater return correction. Eureka! The angle of the blade in the water dictates the amount of correction, from keeping things straight to inducing an on-side turn. The downside of the Wacissa is the shallow water and long eel grass etc. gets in the way of some of this paddle play. And I did rub the poor paddle on some hidden rocks, so I should probably treat those areas to a bit of steel wool and oil. The rocks in the Wacissa are silicified limestone to chert and are generally very aggressively abrasive.

Near our turnaround point we found some baby gators. 12-18” or so. Cute little buggers. After snapping a few pics we departed when they started calling for mama!



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We turned around and headed back north. Gorgeous view needed a pic.

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As we approached Big Blue Spring, I eased us into the southern run. We looped through the spring which was absolutely PACKED with people. Some rope swing action, music, match making, etc. We eased on and tried another run. It didn’t go anywhere but it sure was pretty. This is the stuff I want to find more of, especially as it gets hotter. The narrow, windy, shaded streams are the best. I have delusions of practicing what Marc Ornstein calls “functional freestyle”.

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Overall we paddled 4 hours, and going by time stamps on the pics, apparently paddled back upstream at about the same speed we went downstream. We were on the river from 10-2, and turned around right about noon. Interesting. Since we went nearly half the way down from the launch to Goose Pasture (where the Wacissa is partially captured by karst and the overland portion flows through wild braided streams), we surmise we can easily do that whole stretch in a little over 4 hours. We just need to arrange to drop a vehicle at Goose Pasture before we launch at the head. Happily there is a camp site there too, so plans are afoot.

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The Wacissa is always a pleasure. It got hot this afternoon but dipping feet or a hat in the water helped that. Thanks for coming along on our little daytrip!
 
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I've paddled that part of the Wacissa twice and we tried also to go upstream from the launch on 98 with mixed results. There are rapids around the Slave Canal that were just too shallow.

We camped at Goose Pasture and as it is a primitive campground( very pretty) of course there was an RV with a contractor generator to ruin the peace.. It was a wet swampy campground but about four years ago we tried to go in and the entire campground was being rebuilt.
While we were at Goose Pasture contemplating what braid we were on I drove around a bit and found another launch just a bit upstream on another sand road.
 
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I've paddled that part of the Wacissa twice and we tried also to go upstream from the launch on 98 with mixed results. There are rapids around the Slave Canal that were just too shallow.

We camped at Goose Pasture and as it is a primitive campground( very pretty) of course there was an RV with a contractor generator to ruin the peace.. It was a wet swampy campground but about four years ago we tried to go in and the entire campground was being rebuilt.
While we were at Goose Pasture contemplating what braid we were on I drove around a bit and found another launch just a bit upstream on another sand road.

Welaunee Landing is a great spot to launch. Seems almost a secret from the semi-permanent Gypsy camp at Goose Pasture. I’m told the fishing from there up to the dam is great. Next trip we may put in there and go upstream, reaping the benefits of a gentle return after we’re tired.

I tried going up Slave Canal last June. After getting up that little riffle and chewing up a previously unmolested Grey Owl bent shaft (also when I decide a pole would be a good idea), I hit a big downed tree and decided discretion was the better part of valor. Going solo comes with making smart decisions.



I hear the canal is clear now. A friend (and now boss) knows the way from Goose Pasture to Nutall Rise through the wild braided streams, several of us are trying to get a trip set up.
 
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