Storm Layover, Spring Warrior Fish Camp: Day 35 & 36, Florida CT Paddle 3.19-20.18

Dear Reader, We are in Florida’s remote Big Bend, where the panhandle ends and the mainland heads south (blue and white dot). The smaller blue pin shows where we started and the red pin shows our intended destination for this season. I like looking at this map. It makes me feel like we’re making progress, no matter how slowly. And it makes me feel less frustrated about being held up again due to weather. We arrived here at Spring Warrior Fish Camp and Motel on Sunday after paddling our second-longest day yet in order to get here before the storm. …

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Spring Warrior Fish Camp: Day 34, Florida CT Paddle 3.18.18

Dear Reader, This morning we awoke to the buzz of mosquitoes in our thicket and quickly broke camp, slipping into the calm mist of the river, beaten only by one fishing boat. Water like glass. Sky like calm water. Sixteen and a half nautical miles of glorious paddling through the white of fog was our reward. We paddled all morning by compass to the charted mound of Rock Island. I love paddling in the flat and silence of fog. Tilting the rudderless Miss Pink starboard, the compass heading nudged east, and tilting port it would nudge west. Thus we kept …

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Ring Dike, St. Mark’s NWR: Day 32, Florida CT Paddle 3.16.18

Dear Reader, Today was a gorgeous day of paddling! When I awoke in the night, the marsh was alive with the chattering ruckus of seabirds! I had never heard such a midnight chorus of seabirds before. Who was carrying on and why? Surely it wasn’t a way to stay warm? The morning’s low temperature of 39 was five degrees warmer than it has been recently, and thus felt downright balmy. And when daylight arrived the seas lay flat. Such a glorious site! Blue above and blue below, with just a smudgy pencil line of land in the horizon. We paddled …

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Fog Island, St. Mark’s: Day 31, Florida CT Paddle 3.15.18

Dear Reader, This mid-March morning it was colder at our Florida campsite (near Panacea) than in Seattle or the two Colorado towns where we used to live or the one where our grown son lives. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, where we live when we’re not paddling or camper camping, seems to have the best temps of them all! This is what I slept in: 2 pairs of socks, underwear, long stretch pants, fleece tank top, paddling rash guard shirt, sweatshirt with hood, fleece hat, two sleeping bag liners (I gave up my pillow) and my summer-weight sleeping bag. Oh, …

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Mashes Sands County Park: Day 30, Florida CT Paddle 3.14.18

Dear Reader, We awoke to another cold, dark morning. Since John and I recently crossed into Eastern Standard Time and more recently switched over to Daylight Savings Time, our internal clocks are about two hours off. Since when is sunrise supposed to be at the ungodly late hour of 7:48 am? And with temps then still hovering in the 30s, how is anyone in a tent supposed to get up at a decent hour? We feel like shameful, freezing sloths before our eyelids even fully open. Not inspiring by any means. John dutifully lit our stove out on the picnic …

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Layover Crooked River Campsite X: Day 28, Florida CT Paddle 3.12.18

Dear Reader, As soon as I signed off last night, the rains came and pounded on the tent like a drum and thunder boomed in the distance. Once it quelled, I got up to pee and stumbled to the river’s edge by headlamp. No wonder it’s a swamp. The kayaks were practically floating in the puddles that had formed beneath them even as they sat on high ground. I looked furtively about with my headlamp in the otherwise pitch black of the moonless night, half expecting to find an alligator by my side, and dashed back to the tent thinking …

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Crooked River Campsite X: Day 27, Florida CT Paddle 3.11.18

Dear Reader, When John woke up this morning, his fever had broken. He had a headache and didn’t feel 100% but felt good enough to keep paddling. While we were packing up, two fishermen pulled up in their truck and launched their boat. When asked what they were fishing for they answered “we’re just going to throw in some bait on the end of a line and see what bites.” And then they rattled off some fish names, the only one I recognized being Bass. The river widened and stretched out some of its kinks as we paddled away from …

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Layover Carrabelle: Day 25, Florida CT Paddle 3.09.18

Dear Reader, Today is a layover resupply day. We opened the big box we’d packaged and had mailed to us via General Delivery, and spread its contents around our room. We’d made a milestone: our first mailbox pickup. My brother Rick showed up with the REI purchases we’d ordered over the phone while camped at Spoil Bank 2 earlier this week. I was excited to get my new sleeping bag liner, and John his Hydroskin paddling shorts. We went back to Carrabelle Junction for today’s Blue Plate Special of French Dip and then Rick took off with some unused and …

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Carrabelle: Day 24, Florida CT Paddle 3.08.18

Dear Reader, This morning was freakin cold. In Florida. In March. There were solid ice droplets on my boat. Miss Pink was not happy. But I was just happy we didn’t have to paddle far and thus could stay in our tent with the fly doors closed to block the wind while we drank our morning coffee. We only had a measly 1.8 nm to paddle to the small, quiet fishing town of Carrabelle. There, Skip, the Innkeeper of The Old Carrabelle Hotel, met us at the public boat launch with his truck, loaded up our boats and gear and …

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Carrabelle Point: Day 23, Florida CT Paddle 3.07.18

Dear Reader, There’s so much to share today. Mostly because last night I published my post before we had a beer and ate at The Hole in the Wall, which was a stumbled-upon hoot! The bar’s owner (left) and the waitress were improvising their own equivalent of a comedy routine, (although I doubt they’d call it that!) and had John and I smiling from ear to ear in disbelief. That hour or so spent in that bar has been a highlight of our trip. We laughed and felt no pain. When you stay at the Appalachicola River Inn, which we …

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