Blades and Bushlore

Outings => River Rats => Topic started by: FlaMike on August 05, 2014, 05:52:11 PM

Title: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: FlaMike on August 05, 2014, 05:52:11 PM
I FINALLY stopped procrastinating and put the Glade Skiff back in the water so I could start exploring the Green Swamp. Now this is a pretty good-sized piece or real estate, and I?ll be looking around the South Eastern part that is bordered by the Withlacoochee River. Depending upon the time of year and the location, this river can be something you can more-or-less step over, with other parts that much wider than I?d ever want to try to swim across. And it tends to wander all over the place with very few straight parts in it. And to top it off, the darned thing flows ?uphill.? I mean to say it flows North more than any other direction. North, and eventually to the West, so it does wind up emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.

It also flows through a lot of Florida history.

The water level was quite high. In fact, it was kind of hard to pick out just where the actual river was! There is a dock at the canoe launch, but it was closed off, as the water was just about even with the decking. The river was well out of its banks, making for a lot of interesting snags. And I was kind of surprised at the rate of flow. That, along with old downed (and drowned) trees, made for a couple of interesting and educational moments.

But, I got pics!!!!
(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr01.jpg)
Glade Skiff on the cart and ready to launch.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr02.jpg)
Just needs a push! No, actually, I lifted the skiff off the cart and locked the cart up in the truck. All but the last foot of the boat was in the water, floating, so I could just step right up on the poling platform without getting my feet wet. Just a couple of steps forward, the bow goes down an inch or two, and the stern is lifted off the bank. All it takes is a little nudge with the push pole or a paddle, and I?m under weigh! Just a couple of careful steps back and I?m either standing on the poling platform working the pole, or sitting on the forward edge of the platform which makes a pretty good paddling seat.

Unless, of course, I?m somewhere behind the boat, trying to figure out what just went wrong!   :-[ That hasn?t happened yet, but I hear it?s just a matter of time.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr03.jpg)
I think it?s the black water, from the tannin, that makes the reflections so nice!

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr04.jpg)
Cypress and Oaks. And a river in there somewhere.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr05.jpg)
Just about the only wildlife that kept still long enough for me to get a picture of it!

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr06.jpg)
Well, that bird and this mushroom. . . I do wish this pic had come out a little better. I was rather taken by the sharp contrast of that very, very white mushroom against the dark of the tree.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr07.jpg)
Here, I?d moved off of the river itself and more into the swamp to get out of the current for a rest. That?s when I noticed the repeating pattern of the trees and their reflections. To my eye, there?s something a little Zen about this scene. . .

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr08.jpg)
I think this was a little grassy hilltop until the river overflowed.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr09.jpg)
I?d have a hard time calling it a swamp without plenty of these! In any of its variations, the Cypress is pretty much my favorite tree.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr10.jpg)
And I guess that would explain the above photo. Cypress. Trees and knees! If you notice the flow of water through those trees, I have to tell you it?s a little deceptive. I got hung up three times going through parts like this. It doesn?t take much of a flow to trap a small boat against submerged or partially submerged objects. And if you aren?t careful, it would be very easy to have a trapped boat rolled under. NOT a good thing. It could wreck your whole day.
But it is beautiful back in there.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr11.jpg)
Just drifting back down to the launch point. That makes starting out going upstream worth the effort. The return trip involved little more than just steering. The river does the rest.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr12.jpg)
More of my favorite trees! As high as the water was, it?s clear that it can (and has,) get even higher. By 3 to 5 feet from what I?ve seen on the trees.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr13.jpg)
This is the other side of the Oak seen in the third photo. Which means I?m closing in on the end of the trip.

(http://www.ptponds.com/GS/wr14.jpg)
Once I passed under that arch, I could see my launch point. Landing turned out to be as easy as the launch was. Just backed in, shifted weight forward to raise the stern and once the boat stopped, stand up, step right off the back on to dry land, feet still dry!

It was really good to be back on the water, and back ?out in the middle of nowhere.? I really do enjoy these solo trips. I know that one of these days, I?m going to have to think about taking someone along and giving up the solo part. It would be the smart thing to do. (So I hear, anyway.) There are many miles of that river flowing along and through that swamp. Lots of different kinds of terrain, some springs along the way, and eventually into the Gulf. Lots to see and do.
 
But for now, I should be making another solo trip tomorrow, weather permitting. In fact, the boat is still loaded up and ready to go.  But not back to the swamp so soon, something different. A couple of creeks come together, just in time to meet the Gulf. Should be a nice little mangrove-lined bayou emptying into some saltwater flats. I?ll let you know!

Still got some boats that need building. But before I go back to the Pirogues, there?s at least one more traditional old Florida boat to be built. This one will be a lot shorter that the Glade Skiff, and hopefully, lighter, too!

From looking at recent threads, I can see I need to brush up on my photog skills! And maybe my social skills, as well. There's some people I still need to meet, and some respects to be paid while I'm at it.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: wolfy on August 05, 2014, 06:29:12 PM
Jeez, Mike....I thought the 'gators gotch'ya or somethin' :shrug:   It's been quite a while since we heard anything from you, but that was a great 'comeback' report! :thumbsup:    Good to see you again! :canoe:
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: crashdive123 on August 05, 2014, 06:53:03 PM
Great pics.  Thanks for taking us along.
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: FlaMike on August 05, 2014, 07:20:38 PM
crashdive,

As a matter of fact, I was just enjoying your post in this section! Keep up the good work.

Wolfy!!!

Glad to see your post! No sir, a 'gator didn't get me, but boredom nearly did. Besides, that's the one thing I did learn from that Everglades trip. "If you can manage to stay in the boat, it makes it pretty easy to stay out of the gator."

But I know I've been bad. I did kind of withdraw for quite a while. But I've not been wasting my time, I've been reading an awful lot. Mostly Florida history, a lot of stuff about the 'Glades, and way too much funny Florida crime fiction.

Other that taking the Glade Skiff out, I've been leaving Glen Simmons alone for a while and have been reading Totch Brown. And from his book, I'm looking at that next "Florida historical" boat build. I don't guess I really need the boat, but one lighter and easier to transport would have it's upside. . .

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: greyhound352 on August 05, 2014, 08:02:51 PM
Glad to see you back and out on the river.

Not sure if you have seen Seamphanger's sale thread but he has his skiff for sale. Not sure who his skiff was modeled after but I do know he is well versed in that Totch book.
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: FlaMike on August 06, 2014, 06:15:31 AM
greyhound,

Took me a few minutes to figure out that you were talking about SwampHanger. I'd been all over Glen Simmons book on the Gladesmen and really wanted to build his Glade Skiff. But it wasn't until I found SwampHanger's thread about his build of this boat that I decided to go ahead and actually do it.

I was able to find the sale thread you mentioned and posted in it. Thank you!

If SwampHanger know about Totch, then he probably will know what I'm going to build next. . .

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: greyhound352 on August 06, 2014, 08:30:41 AM
Sorry Mike about the name screwup.

Gotta love auto-correct on phones, my bad for not checking it after typing.
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: imnukensc on August 06, 2014, 09:04:23 AM
Beautiful scenery and beautiful boat.  Glad to see you back and posting!  Thanks for taking us along.   :thumbsup:
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: FlaMike on August 06, 2014, 01:47:52 PM
Have to say I prefer my swamps to no be moving so fast. But, that means I just have to keep looking around. I'd hoped to make a second trip today, different location. Checked the weather on-line, looked good, so I started out.

As soon as I got away from the house and turned towards the Gulf, all I saw was a sky full of dark clouds heading my way. I turned back, and almost made it to the front door when the rains hit. No more weather services for me! From now on, I'll just go outside, look up, and if my face gets wet, go back in.

I know my little trips are pretty tame, but I really do love getting out in the middle of it!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
Title: Re: 1st short trip into the Green Swamp
Post by: upthecreek on August 06, 2014, 04:51:55 PM
Thanks for checking in and sharing with us Mike. I'm gonna get down that way soon I hope. The area is beautiful and I love your boat. I've not taken as many solo trips lately, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I still get to from time to time.

Creek