Monday, November 28, 2011

The Confluence

I have updated my blog so that you can now opt to follow my adventures and photos by adding your email for notification when I post. Click on a photo for a larger view, then use your BACK button to return to this story.  Enjoy!
Once more, I return to "the Confluence" (as we call it) - where the Wacissa River ends, spilling its spring water into the black-watered Aucilla.  First time I visited (a long-ago-blog-entry), there was a beautiful rocky shoal... a "waterfall" one might even stretch, by flat Florida standards.  All the visits since, we have found the rocks submerged and the confluence waters tame. Crystal had heard my exuberant rant after the scouting trip, but became a doubter after about the 5th flatwater visit.
The bird's eye view of the Aucilla River (this section) is a series of sinkholes and short runs, because mostly it travels through underground caves. The Wacissa ends at a short stretch of Aucilla called Half Mile Rise.  And that's why it took me years to consider that maybe the Aucilla water level at the Confluence rises and falls with the tides of the Gulf where it ultimately flows miles downstream.  So for this trip, I did some homework and calculated when Half Mile Rise might be at a very low tide level and timed our paddle accordingly.  Bob and Trudy Thompson joined Crystal and I on this glorious afternoon as we ventured through the Braided Swamp of the lower Wacissa arriving at Half Mile Rise to find my hypothesis spot on - a roaring rocky Confluence!
A believer once again, Crystal declared this a top five favorite spot in Florida's Big Bend.  It's inaccessibility only makes it more desirable. Most lower Wacissa paddlers take the more distinct side channel - the Slave Canal - to a regular landing on the lower Aucilla, rather than get lost in the braided swamp. (Getting lost is always part of our adventure.)  Plus the "road" to the take-out at Half Mile Rise is strewn with boulders and laced with tire-eating gullies.  So worth the effort!