This past Saturday morning I decided I'd take an overnight solo Kayak trip down the Peace River here in Florida. Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)
. I've been wanting to get on the Peace River for sometime and had not had the opportunity.
I started getting my gear together and then went to the grocery store to pick up a few items. After getting everything loaded up, we set off to Zolfo Springs around 1:15 in the afternoon. Made it to the launch around 2:30 pm, unloaded the car and got on the water a little after 3:00 pm.
My plan was to launch at Zolfo Springs and paddle to Arcadia, about 30 River miles. My wife was going to drop me off at Zolfo Springs and then I'd caller her sometime Sunday afternoon to pick me up. I printed her off directions to the three possible pickup points in case I didn't make it all the way to Arcadia.
Here's my trusty 10 year old Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 ready to launch.
On my way.
Beautiful weather with no rain in the forecast, with highs in the upper 80's and low's in the mid 60's.
I had looked at one of the outfitters web sites before I left and they stated the River was 2'-8" above normal, and running between 2-3 mph. I'd say the speed was pretty accurate and it helped get me a few miles farther to my campsite.
Came around a bend and started hearing music. There was a large group of folks on the west side of the River at what looked to be a small resort. I asked one of the group if this place sold beers, and they said you want a beer, come on over. It turns out this group of younger folk had rented out this resort for four days. It had a couple of buildings, dirt bike trails, a shooting range, etc. There were about 30 of them in the group I think. They had brought quads, dirt bikes, jet skis, rafts, you name it. They were here to have a good time, and they were. Spent a few minutes with them, had a beer, and got back on the water.
Here are a few pics of their setup.
Come to find out later that this is called the Peace River Valley Resort
, and is available for rent for $545.00 per night for the whole 700 acres.
You're supposed to only camp on the west side of the River, and obviously obey any no trespassing signs. On this first leg, the camping spots on the west side were few and far between. At around 6:00 pm I found a nice site and thought I'd better go ahead and setup camp now instead of chancing not finding a decent site during daylight hours.
Campsite Coordinates: 27.45989, -81.84689, Elevation: 4ft Surrounded by water on three sides.
I hate it when people leave their trash in a fire pit. I ended up cleaning it up and hauling it out with me.
Setup camp, had a drink and then started cooking some diner. Whittled a couple of skewers and grilled some Sea Scallops and a couple of Florida wild caught shrimp.
Hit the sack right after dinner. It was a full moon tonight and the weather was perfect. I didn't bring nor need a sleeping bag. A Thermarest pad and a sheet were perfect.
I ended up sleeping in until I get a text from my wife at 7:00 am, checking on me. I replied, and stayed in bed until around 7:30. Got coffee going, cooked a little breakfast, relaxed and started breaking down camp. Got back on the water a little after 10:00 am.
After about an hour in to the trip, my legs started getting a little sun burnt. Pulled over to get some sunscreen out from my first aid kit. Whoops, no sunscreen. Plan B, a little Gold Bond powder to help with the sting, and a lightweight cover with a Pack Towel to prevent further burning, worked perfectly.
Cool old bridge.
At around 1:30 pm, I decided that I was going to stop short of my planned destination of Arcadia. I figured I had about another 1.5 hours to get to the Gardner ramp and my wife had about 1.5 hour drive to get to that ramp. I believe it is about another 7 miles to Arcadia from the Gardner ramp. I'll do that trip another time.
I got to Gardner ramp around 3:00 pm. According to SWFWMD, it was a 23 mile river trip. My wife arrived about 15 minutes after I got to there, so it worked out perfectly. A great trip on a beautiful river, with perfect weather, doesn't get any better. Thanks for looking.