Paddling the Wacissa River

Categories: Nature,
February 23, 2012,

We can’t believe it, but it’s almost spring. There’s just something about this time of year that makes everyone want to get outside. Whether it’s for a walk around the block or a day at the beach, it’s just nice to feel the sun on your skin after months of winter hibernation. Ok, we know… We live in an area that doesn’t really have a winter. But, it’s not like we’ve spent the past few months laying on the beach! We’re ready for blue skies and sunshine just like you are. When the pretty weather comes back around, do you know what one of our favorite outdoor activities is? Stand-up paddle boarding.

Late last year my sister, my fiance’ and I set off on a day trip to paddle the Wacissa River. The river, located Southeast of Tallahassee, FL, made for one of the best paddling experiences I’ve ever had. Crystal clear spring-fed water revealed the grass covered bed of the river which danced to my delight the entire way.

We started near the head spring of the river and traveled roughly 10 miles. The entire trip took about four hours to complete and the paddling was very easy as the current was with us the entire way. As we lazily paddled, a plethora of wild animals revealed themselves to us, including a family of otters, alligators, turtles, and many types of birds and fish.

According to Wikipedia “The Wacissa is well-known for its large concentration of aquatic birds, including egrets, herons, ibis, osprey, wood storks, limpkins, anhingas, kingfishers, barred owls and bald eagles. Aquatic animals are also abundant, including alligators, river otters, turtles, water snakes, and crayfish. The main species of fish are bass, mullet, catfish, red-breasted sunfish, stumpknocker and gar, although the warmouth perch, speckled perch, flier bream, and shellcracker may also found in the Wacissa.” I believe we saw most of these animals during our journey.

While a large part of the river is wide, the current still flows swiftly. Several miles into the trip, the river begins to split up into small pathways. They all lead to the same place, but it can make you question whether you are going the right way, although, the difference in terrain is a welcome change.

My fiance’ and I were on our BOTE stand-up paddle boards while my sister rode her kayak. I hadn’t attempted an adventure paddle of this length on the paddle-board before but was pleasantly surprised with the ease and comfort. The vantage point of standing up made a huge difference since the water is crystal clear and I could watch the grasses sway with currents and the schools of mullet scatter as we paddled past.

I found the pristine nature of the river to be its most appealing feature. Since there are virtually no houses or developments of any kind marring the shores, you truly feel isolated from the civilized world and transported back in time.

If you’re into adventure paddling, I highly recommend paddling the Wacissa River. You can find a map of the route we took here.

Related Links:
Wacissa River on Wikipedia
BOTE Paddle Boards
Florida Greenways and Trails Map
Google Map of Route
Video on Youtube

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