Sunday, November 4, 2007 I kayaked the Econlockhatachee River. The Econ is located in the northeast part of the Orlando metro area, near Oviedo, Seminole County. A 22 mile drive for me. I stopped at a launch area on County Road 419. A 6 car paved lot. The River is at the bottom of a 150 yard grassy slope. I dragged the yak down, left it and drove to the takeout, 5 miles away at Snowhill Road. I left the car, and biked back to the yak. This area is changing. Since my first visit in April, 05, I've seen strip malls go up where celery feds once stood, subdivisions replace woods. A horse farm I pass now has a for sale sign. Fortunately, a large section of land around the River is preserved as the Little Big Econ State Forest
The put in is just downriver from where the Econlockhatachee joins the Little Econlockhatachee River, hence the Forest's name. The water level was high, thanks to summer rains. It probably is at its peak until next summer. The bridge to bridge trip is 8 miles. The Econ is a dark water river, not spring fed. It is lined with moss draped oaks, cypress trees and vast stands of sabal palms. Wildlife is abundant. Herons, egrets, osprey, hawks, fish, turkeys, ibis, alligators and turtles. The Econ is the best place I have been in Florida for seeing bald eagles. I see them almost every visit. This visit was one of the best ever. I spotted several,- or maybe the same two over and over. No pictures. My best chance for a picture came one I saw the last one. It was perched in a tree, I came closer, aimed the camera, and it took off. This was just past the bridge pictured here. The bridge lets bikers and hikers cross the River. Trails crisscross the forest. The bridge is my indicator of water level. In the spring, I could barely touch it with my paddle extended full length. Yesterday, it was within arm's length. In October, 2005, less than a week after Hurricane Wilma, clearance was a few inches. I paddled around the bridge. Other than the 10 or so bald eagles, there was not a lot of wild life- he wrote, pen in cheek. I saw the pictured great blue heron and turtle, along with blue herons, cormorants, kingfishers pileated woodpeckers, hawks and assorted songbirds. I only saw one gator. The highwater kept them spread out. There is a bend in the river where I often see two big ones on the sandy bank. That bank was underwater. Hikers told be a gator was on my left, but it went under before I saw it. No way to miss the big fellow pictured. Unlike Satuday on the Myakka, I was able to take several pictures. As you can see, it moved a bit- notice how its left front leg is in the water in the second photo. The one in the Myakka was bigger. By the way, I have no idea why this is underlined. Till next time..... I appreciate the responses on my email- feel free to comment on Dave's Yak Tales itself- just click on "Comments" at the end of each tail/tale.