Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hillsborough River

Not by usual scenic river or wildlife shot, but this group is more photogenic.  Except for the guy in the white shirt and hat.  May have to learn to edit that out.  Two guys, I grew up with, John H., who has appeared in these Tales before, and Mike G.  Mike and his wife, Phylis, paddled the Hillsborough with me in February, 2007.  Pre Yak Tales days.  If you are a friend or family member, and don't delete your emails, enter "Yakioli" in the mail search box and you'll find a story from that trip.  We were joined by Mike's parents, two of Mike and Phyliss' children, Tina and Mary, and a cousin, Danny.  One of Mary G.'s children.

We utilized the services of  Canoe Escape.  Here's the group, discussing what craft to rent.
It was kayaks for most, a canoe for Mr. and Mrs. G.  John H. used my second kayak.  Canoe Escape is not on the River, a bus took us to our launch point at Sergeant Park.
The two guys on the right weren't part of our group. Which big enough, at 8. Plus me  Topping the largest group I've kayaked with 6, plus me at the Commodore Creek Trail on Sanibel Island.   If we talk canoes, well, there were a least 10 of my family paddling the Crystal River in Waupaca, back in 2005.
We got on the water about 10:30.  Paddled up the Flint River for a few minutes.  Sergeant Park is at the confluence of the Hillsborough and Flint.  Often a good area for visitors to Florida to see alligators.

The first of many alligators we would see on our way to Trout Creek Park.

 The photos were taken with a Canon Powershot Elph 100 HS.  I returned the Fuji that temporarily replaced the stolen Powershot Elph 1100.  The camera was in a water tight case.  Smaller than the old one, but less functional.  All functions can't be accessed while in the case. They could, or a least the ones I used, in the old one.  I thought the newer things were, the better.  Oh, well.
Black crowned night heron

Juvenile ibis

Goog and Honz

Rosette spoonbill

Almost got the whole fleet in this shot.  All but Danny, leading the way.  He let an alligator guide him down the Hillsborough.

Great egret

We arrived at Morris Bridge Park, the half way point, a little after 1:00.  It's nice to paddle with a friend's Mom.  I usually, make that never, bring napkins with me when I kayak.  Nor do I put lettuce, pre torn into half sandwich size pieces, in plastic bags, ready to put on the ham salad sandwiches.  Thanks. Mrs. G.  Thank you Mike, for the fermented malt beverage.

Haven't changed a bit since 3rd grade at St. Roberts.  We had told the folks at Canoe Escape to pick us up at 4:00 PM.  Based on our pace, we decided 4:30 was better. Mike told the bus driver who arrived to pick up paddlers ending their trip at Morris Bridge, we'd prefer the later pickup, and we were back in the River.

One change was made in the fleet. Mike traded places with Mr. G., taking the stern position in the canoe with his Mom.  I must say, I need to get in better shape now, so I am as healthy as Mike's parents when I'm their age.

We had a bit of a delay as we set off down River.  One of the group rolled over his kayak. I won't say who it was, but he was able to stand up, and empty the water out with his son's help. (Which may have given the ID away)

The mosquitoes were a bother on the second half of the paddle.  I could not find my bug spray before we left Canoe Escape.  Should have looked on the back seat.  Point paddler Danny came back up River, knowing his Aunt or Grandmother had some spray.  I wanted to paddle faster, to out run the skeeters.  But I'd look back and see no one but Mr. G. and Tina (or was it Mary?)  Where are the others.  Boy, they are slow.  Turns out, in true Dave's Yak Tales spirit, they were on an extended adventure after a wrong turn. 
After two portages, someone decided they went the wrong way and soon we were re united.

Other birds seen, but not pictured, include, great blue heron, tri colored heron, red shouldered hawk, cardinals, assorted little songbirds, and, of course, vultures. 

We landed a little after 4. The bus came a few minutes later.  I highly recommend Canoe Escape if you need rental kayaks, canoes, or livery service on the Hillsborough River. It is a bit pricey, $29, to transport your kayak, less $5 if you are with some one who rents, but the service is friendly and informative.  They will carry your kayaks to your car.  Unlike the last livery service I used, Juniper Springs. Who's driver did not even stop at John's van as he passed it.  With no one in the livery van but John and I.

I failed to take a photo of the Packer logo on a guy's Wilderness Systems kayak on the River.  This was under the glass at our table at Mema's Alaskan Tacos in  Ybor City.
I didn't know Cuda, had a mayor, hey.  (Those from the Milwaukee are will get it). As far as "Alaskan" tacos, the story is the owners grandmother perfected the family recipe in Alaska, in the 1950's.


John honz said...

Fun trip..great day!

John honz said...

I thought that was his brother helping him out? :)

shannan said...

Those Gaggioli's sure are brave! looks like fun!