By Cameron Baxley
Sixteen paddlers took to Owl Creek on our recent eco-outing. One group launched early en route to Devon Creek. The students from the FAMU Outdoor Club, (Adrian, Edna, Kahlil, Norman, Star and Troy) familiarized themselves with their kayaks while hearing an Apalachicola River overview from Riverkeeper, Georgia Ackerman. The students loaded up on snacks to keep the momentum going (it’s finals week) then launched their boats. Except for some basking juvenile alligators, a banded water snake, and numerous warblers, we had Owl Creek all to ourselves for exploring.
Warm weather is finally here. Spring provided the paddlers with a shady umbrella of fresh cypress and tupelo leaf growth. The tupelo are beginning to show off their signature spikey green balls, which should begin to reveal the cluster of white flowers in the next several weeks. Tupelo honey will soon be in the making.
With the high-water levels, the floodplain allowed those willing to paddle through the trees. The students wasted no time practicing zig-zagging though the creek island of trees and Norman paddled even further into the forest to unintentionally collect several spiders on his kayak.
The two groups reunited about a mile from the launch point and paddled together another half mile to dip our paddles in the Apalachicola River that was headed towards the Gulf in a hurry due to recent rainfall and upstream reservoir releases. After deciding not to take a fast ride down the Gulf, the paddlers turned around and headed back to Hickory Landing where the journey commenced.
Thank you to volunteer outings co-leaders Martha Haynes, Fountain Hutchison and Doug Alderson for keeping everyone safe and having fun.
Cameron Baxley is the Director of Outreach and Advocacy at Apalachicola Riverkeeper. She can be reached at [email protected]