Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Seminole State Forest



Camping weekend in the Seminole State Forest. Saw a deer just before the Sand Road Bridge. Not the bridge above, that came later.  Saw wild turkeys, too, as I drove in the Forest.

Not in my usual site, for obvious reasons.

Never saw Blackwater Creek, or Moccasin Spring, so high. Lucky for me, one of the other two sites in the Forest was available.


Oaks Camp site. I was told it was occupied Friday night. Campers either left early, or never showed.  I decided I would pitch the tent after kayaking Blackwater  Creek

Water on Loop Road. Just past Oaks. I backed up. Went the way I came to the launch site at the Sand Road Bridge. A fisherman asked which way I was going. Up, or down stream. Told him I did not know.

On the water at 9:10
Went down. Not far. Did not think I could make it under the bridge, the Creek is so high. Maybe, but the way back, paddling against the current, would be a different story. Hard to paddle when your chin is on the deck. Not sure I could do that anyway. Belly gets in the way. So, up stream I went.


This is the second time I have been unable to camp at Moccasin Springs due to high water. The first, Easter, 2009, the campsite was merely soggy. Today, I could paddle to the underwater fire ring

That’s what I call kayak camping.

High water meant I could not fit under some low fallen trees. On the other hand, high water meant I could paddle around them.




Not enough water on either side of this one to go around. Disappointed, I turned back. Shortly before, I had spent to much time in an off channel area. Took a wrong turn. Had a brief moment of concern before getting out of the emergent vegetation and back in the Creek. Only took 3 or 4 tries.

I recall the above tree from a prior paddle.  So I knew I had been on the right channel.  Made a wrong turn, somewhere.

Came to a fork, and took it.  Back up Creek
 In July, I paddled just past this camper.  It had been the farthest I had ever gone up Blackwater Creek

So, first time I saw these old pilings.

First time seeing this bridge

I continued up Blackwater Creek





 12:30, 50 minutes up Creek from the bridge, I turned around.




Thanks to whoever did this. And others.  For years, the Creek was block about 30 minutes up stream of Moccasin Spring.  A lot of hard work has cleared it
 Boats on the right bank

I now know that the Creek, past the bridge, flows through privately held land.  Further up stream, it re-enters the Seminole State Forest.

Landing and boats on the left bank.




Not seeing any signs at the bridge, I landed.

 Deer 1, Hunter 0.
I wondered if a State Forest vehicle made this track.  Had I read the information on the posters placed in the new kiosk before, instead of after going out, I would have known I was trespassing on Seminole Ranch.



Finished a sandwich and got back in the yak
 Posed for the opening photo
 The log below is why I did not see the bridge in July.
This is how it looked coming up stream, before the late summer deluge.
Back to the October trip

 Back in the Forest



Only gator picture of the day.  So little traffic on the Creek, they do not stay on the bank for long. Not used to people.


As I progressed down Creek, I noticed the water level was a bit below the high water mark on trees.  Had it dropped in the time I was on the Creek?  I knew where I could get an answer. Moccasin Spring.

The grill on the fire ring was underwater on the way up Creek
Down about an inch on the cooking grill.



Landed at 3:50

Little bird at the campsite.  After pitching the tent, I went for a bike ride.
 Pedaled through the puddles that I avoided in the car.
 Had a flat. Road on the rim for a while.
Walked from here


 3.27 combined miles.  I told myself I'd change the tube in the morning.
One advantage of the Oaks site over Moccasin Springs, is you can drive right up to it.
 Sunset walk


A group of one
Even has hand sanitizer
 Dinner was Johnsonville brat and Publix potato salad

As I think I mentioned, there are 3 campsites in the Forest.  Reserveable ones that is.  A couple additional sites for Florida Trail hikers.  The other reserveable site is on the north edge of the Forest.  4 miles or so from me.  So, I was very surprised to hear a car coming by at 10 PM.  It got to the puddle, and as I had in the morning, backed up and went back the way it came.

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