Mormons Have a Nice Day on the Wacissa
Wacissa, FL--Having made a nice paddle trip down a section of the Little River last September, the Moultrie Mormons wanted to try another trip with the Fellow Travelers. The Wacissa River was the chosen destination. so the crowd met at the church on May 22, 2004, and drove to the head spring. The canoes and kayaks were afloat shortly after nine.
Donald May was the coordinator of the trip. Gloria May and Diane Stines did not actually paddle, but they did drive to Goose Pasture and await the paddlers, thus saving a time-consuming shuttle.
Donald and Charlie helped the adventurers into the boats. Two children, Ammon and Cydnee, began the trip in Donald's kayaks. Donald, Debbie, and Debbie's child, Amber, took Donald's Mohawk. Dennis Yount and a child, Amber, paddled the Canadienne. Fran and Dennis Dauphin took another child, Austin, in the Penobscot 16. Another man and child, Zack, rode the Penobscot 17. Charlie had the special privilege of soloing his Prism.
Seldom are the Fellow Travelers able to start paddling so early, and the Wacissa had a special charm at the early hour. The fog was still moderately heavy, and the bird life was spectacular. Osprey, coots, wood ducks, egrets, galllinule, hawks, vultures, little blue herons, and great blue herons were evident.
Although several of the paddlers were novices, no one had any difficulty paddling. Ammon and Cydnee did get a little tired paddling the kayaks, but there was some switching later which allowed Zack and Austin a turn in the kayaks.
The first section of the Wacissa has many springs. The group first paddled to a nice spring on the sets side of the river. It was a tough job getting the boats across the aquatic weeds to the spring, but it was worth it. After that, the paddlers headed up to the large spring on the east side of the river. It was an easy side venture. The spring has a diving platform, and someone has hung a huge American flag across the spring run. Many fish were visible in the clear water. A large hawk was sitting on a stump, and he at first was unperturbed by the crowd, but soon he flew away.
After that, the next stop was at Cedar Island. The kayakers made the switch there. Someone has left a semi-permanent camp at the island, and there is a grill and a hammock available for anyone brave enough to brave the bugs and try camping there. By the time Cedar Island was reached, the fog had lifted and it was a bright sunshiny day on the Wascissa.
After leaving the island, the boaters headed downriver toward the old dam. Several alligators, all of them small, were seen swimming in the river. Lots of turtles and more birds were spotted. The crew stopped at the Richard Williams Pine Bluff Paradise for a snack break. The site had been maintained by Big Al, Donald's friend, before his death. While there, Big Al's widow, James Murphy, and a young couple met us in an airboat. Since these were Donald's friends, they promised everyone an airboat ride upon reaching Goose Pasture.
The next section of the Wacissa is through canopied channels with water levels ranging from shallow to very deep. There were more alligators, birds, and turtles to view. Dennis Yount and Amber managed to get the Canadienne against a tree and overturn. The King had to get out of the Prism and rescue Amber, who then decided to ride with her mother, Debbie. Dennis and Charlie eventually got the boat emptied of water, and Dennis got a different partner.
Then it was on to Goose Pasture. Diane and Gloria were waiting there. The airboat was there, and several paddlers took an exhilirating ride.
After loading the canoe trailer, everyone loaded into the Suburban Profane and Gloria's Buick and returned to Goose Pasture to pick up the other vehicle and return home. It was a delightful day.