Chipola River Paddling Trail | The Ovens and Maund Spring

>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: The best kayak trips
are as much about what you do outside the kayak as what you see on the water. You can find this cave alongside the Chipola
River in Jackson County. You know, I’ve had a few adventures in and
around this river over the years. But somehow, I’ve never paddled on the Chipola
River Paddling Trail. That changes today.>>Doug Alderson: The
Chipola River covers about 92 miles. The trail itself is about 51 miles. From the Caverns, basically, it goes down
to Scott’s Ferry in Calhoun County, just above the Dead Lakes area. So that’s the paddling trail. You could do this trail over several days,
if you want. Or you could just do different day stretches,
like most people do.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: Multi-day kayak camping
trips are fun, but we want to do a day trip. So today, we picked a section with a few highlights.>>Doug Alderson: So we paddled a ten-mile
segment from Yancey Bridge to Magnolia Bridge. Yancey Bridge is just below Florida Caverns
State Park. We’re at the place called the ovens, which
is on the Hinson Tract, managed by the city of Marianna. And this is a small cave that is probably
the only cave you can access- dry cave- from a Florida river. So that’s pretty unique. It’s beautiful with big limestone boulders,
and a lot of moss. Just right on the river. It’s a little difficult to land here, but
a neat stop. It kind of looks like ovens. You know, the brick ovens?>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: Floridians get excited
anytime we see rocks above ground. Most of our best geology is under the water.>>Doug Alderson: This is Maund Spring. M-A-U-N-D. And it’s about halfway between the Yancey
Bridge [and] Magnolia Bridge, about five miles either way. It’s a beautiful spring; has a long fissure,
maybe fifteen, twenty feet deep. Probably deeper if you go into the cave. I want to mention one thing about the springs. We stopped at one spring, but this river has
63 springs that feed it. So that’s the largest number of springs
that feed any northwest Florida river. So it is unique that way. We stopped and looked at Spring Creek, which
is another clear, spring fed creek that comes into the river. It’s very popular with the tubers, so local
folks and FSU students come here in the warm months and they tube down and they take out
a couple miles downriver, on the right. There’s an outfitter that rents tubes.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: We’ve enjoyed a
day of impressive geology and natural solitude out on the water. But just over a year after Hurricane Michael,
it’s hard not to notice the damage done to the surrounding forest.>>Doug Alderson: Paddling the river, it’s
pretty obvious. You’ll see the floodplain forest has been
decimated by about 60-70% in most places. So it’s been thinned out quite a bit. But I’ve noticed some of the trees that
made it, especially some of the cypress and the live oaks, seem to be doing really well. They’re going to end up being some very
dominant trees. The state spent a lot of money to clean up
this section of the river, and did a great job. So the river’s open. And you’ll see places where they had to
cut the logs and everything. It’s a very safe passage through the river
right now. When I’m on this river I- it’s pretty
remote. There’s a few houses. But basically, today, we didn’t see any
other boats. And so you can get on the river some times,
especially during the week, and not really see anybody. And that’s one reason I like it. I like the springs, I like the feeling of
being in wild Florida. So, come and check it out.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: You can find a link
to the Chipola River Paddling Trail Guide on the WFSU Ecology Blog. For WFSU, I’m Rob Diaz de Villegas. If you enjoyed today’s adventure, we have
plenty more on the Chipola River, and many more videos on kayaking and canoeing in north
Florida. It’s all on the WFSU Ecology Blog. And please subscribe to the blog and the WFSU
Ecology YouTube channel to keep up with our exploration of natural north Florida.

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