RiverTrek 2020 was a grand adventure with mild weather, a swift current and just enough sandbars for good breaks and camping. The camaraderie of the group was palpable as stories and laughter were in abundance.
“It’s such an enriching experience to be part of a team of paddlers who are passionate about the waterways they love to explore,” concluded team member Jill Lingard. “From the first paddle stroke to the last, I enjoyed every moment of this river’s majesty, the quiet serenity of paddling it, and the camaraderie of fellow adventurers. The Apalachicola River is a treasure steeped in history and ecological significance. What a joy to be out there for five days. If I could, I would participate in RiverTrek every year!”
Here is how the RiverTrek experience was summed up by Maclay science teacher Cameron Barton: “I consider myself incredibly lucky to have participated in RiverTrek 2020. Experiencing the rivers’ diversity with such a solid team of paddlers was quite meaningful. Through long stretches of the untamed wilderness, cool swim breaks rejuvenated our souls. We saw so many things that reminded us of the reasons we were paddling. Upriver, we launched near the rumbling dam. The connectivity of the fresh water flowing from the mountains to our Gulf stayed with us the entire journey. From the pine flat woods along the banks, through the geologic wonderland of Alum and Bristol Bluffs, to the swamps and floodplains filled with warm fall colors of the tupelo and cypress trees, it was a treat to soak up this American Treasure with such a dedicated team of paddlers.
“We braved the bugs, heat, rain, and wind, camping under the wonderland of sparkling stars on moon-like sandbars. Campfire stories provided relaxing belly laughs. Hearty meals by our Riverkeeper and volunteers gave us the umph to get up and do another 20 or so more miles. Kingfishers and Eagles lead the way. Most importantly, our more than generous donors helped us reach our goal! May Apalachicola Riverkeeper continue to protect the river, bay, and Gulf we all love and enjoy. I enjoyed first-hand one of Florida’s most diverse and inspiring rivers, and loved every second of sharing the experience with my students.”
Many thanks to the team members, donors and volunteer support crew who made it all possible! The team met their financial goal by raising more than $60,000! All funds support the outreach, advocacy and education work of Apalachicola Riverkeeper. Yes, you can still contribute at www.apalachicolariverkeeper.org/rivertrek.