My Adventure Story
After the cancellation of the Bayport area/Cedar Point kayak trip, a last minute decision was made to paddle the Withlacoochee River east of the bridge on 41 in Dunnellon. It made no sense letting a perfectly good Saturday go to waste. So the 11 mile trip was well worth the additional layer of clothing. Of course this is Florida and the coolness of the morning doesn't last very long. Today wasn't any different and it didn't take long before the first outer layer of clothing needed to be removed. Even as I enjoyed the chilly morning, the shore birds weren't as thrilled as they tried to find comfort and warmth in the higher sun bathed branches of the trees.
Launching at the public boat ramp by City Hall, made for a quick arrival at the Rainbow River - another favorite venue, but not today. Today's paddle would be on one of the most beautiful stretches of the Withlacoochee River. And after passing the last of the residential properties, the paddle became an exploration.
This particular section of the river has all the beauty and splendor of an unexplored wilderness. Kayaking in this area will no doubt fill your every sense with awe and wonder. And with respect. The kind of respect deservant of any creature that's been around since the dinosaur-age... yes, that's the word... respect. The kind of respect that also makes your heart beat a little faster when you see one of these creatures in the wild. The kind of respect that can suddenly make a 16 ft kayak feel like a toy bobbing in the water at the very sight of one of the oldest and largest living reptiles in existence today. And while we all joke that size matters, trust me, in this case it really does. The creature I'm referring to is of course an alligator. The one closest to me in the photo was at least 17 ft long. Did you catch the part where I'm in a 16 ft kayak? The second one laying directly behind him was only about 4 ft long. Anyway, being respectful (there's that word again) of their much needed beauty rest, I felt that paddling at a safer distance would be prudent. Thus the picture was taken at a respectable distance (okay, I'll stop using that word). Meaning the photo needed to be cropped when I got home to bring those reptilian dinosaurs into focus. Notice the length of his tail - also note that some of it is curled behind him.