Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Day20: St. Marys River, First 24 Hours

... as reported by DancesWithSandyBottom.

SandyBottom started paddling up the St. Marys River at 7:00 AM on Thursday (Day20), March 23 with DrKayak and RiverJohn.

So begins Stage4.

By 5:30 PM they had traveled 25 miles.
By 10:45 she said they were inching forward in pitch black darkness in a thick fog.

Although each of the kayakers could see absolutely nothing through the fog and darkness using their own headlamps, each of them could see where to go by the lights of the other two kayakers' headlamps. All three were glad they were not paddling alone.

Due to lack of any visibility and lack of suitable campsites in the area, the three kayakers sat in their boats at a tiny sandbar from 11pm to 1am waiting for the tide to change. The temperature was near freezing. As more of the sandbar became exposed, they made a warming fire and had some hot tea and hot food. At 2:30 AM (now Friday) the tide was coming in to put out the fire. They launched and paddled onward with the inflowing tide. Soon they had trouble staying awake and all kept colliding with logs in the river. A 5:30 AM (Friday) they fond a very nice beach campsite, readied their hammocks / tents, and went to sleep for almost four hours.

Stage4 take the challengers across Florida, southwestward from the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast. The Stage4 route includes a 90 statute mile paddle up the St. Marys River, a 40 mile portage from St. George, GA, down the Suwannee River.

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