Summer paddling on Fisheating Creek with the South Florida Paddlers group!

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Aerial view along beautiful Fisheating Creek with the South Florida Paddlers group, mid July 2019.

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Beautiful summer paddling on famed Fisheating Creek, the last free flowing tributary into Lake Okeechobee organized by David Chen of the South Florida Paddlers group. With water levels at the Fisheating Creek Outpost approaching the 4 foot mark, paddling the river should be care-free. However we were told that there is a blockage due to massive Water hyacinth growth on the creek. Thus they were not offering the usual shuttle service to paddle the 8 miles downstream stretch from Burnt Bridge to FEC Outpost. The group opted to paddle up the creek as far as we could, check it out and go back.

I hear banjos in the distance – Giddy UP!

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Fisheating Creek Outpost is the gateway for camping, paddling, hiking and exploration of the river – the last free flowing into Lake Okeechobee!

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There was a large turnout of over 20 paddlers with boats ranging from 10ft Pelicans to 18ft Epic carbon sea kayaks and everything in between. On this river any of these work and I chose to paddle “Pa-Hay-Okee” my versatile Trident 11 SOT – but with a choice of wing and Greenland paddle. Wing upstream, stick downstream worked well for me! This trip also saw the debut of my Safety Sombrero! 😮

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A kayaker’s tribute to the humble and versatile Sombrero!

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Aside from the Water hyacinth, there were also large growths of Hydrilla and Water lettuce among other aquatic plants, native or otherwise. No doubt the explosive growth is related to the same rich nutrients that have been flowing into Lake Okeechobee and causing huge algal blooms there over the last several summers. I witnessed this last summer in 2018 while paddling the section where Fisheating Creek empties out into Lake Okeechobee.

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Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) growth on Lake Okeechobee.
A short excursion into Fisheating Creek on troubled Lake Okeechobee.

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We were able to paddle almost six miles upstream to about half way between Lemon Lake and Burnt Bridge. There we were stopped by the huge wall of impassable Water Hyacinths. Sections were brown and appeared to have been recently sprayed, though still standing. The creek is always beautiful and the return downstream presented many excellent photo-ops! An afternoon summer storm system formed just to the south and we were able to hear it passing due east as we paddled in sporadic light rain. Dealing with thunderstorms is always the wildcard on any South Florida summer paddle!

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Typical Fisheating Creek paddling usually involves shuttling up to Burnt Bridge to paddle about 8 miles downstream. However extensive Water hyacinth growth presented an impassable wall half way between Lemon Lake and the bridge.

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In all we covered over 11 miles upstream and downstream paddling the creek!

Fisheating Creek deserves many repeat visits and is also amazing to see during the winter in the dry season when the water levels drop very low. Some years ago I had the opportunity to through hike 36 miles from Fort Center to Platt Branch WEA paralleling the creek corridor with the Happy Hoofers chapter of the FTA!

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Fisheating Creek in the dry season at Ingrams Crossing.
Through hiking Fisheating Creek WMA!

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BIG thanks to David Chen for putting this trip on,

and looking forward to more adventures with the

South Florida Paddlers group!
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#FisheatingCreek #SouthFloridaPaddlers #SFP #kayakfari

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Enjoy!

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! BLESS – Feel Irie

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© 2019 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com . All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

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DISCLAIMER:

The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

I hereby disclaim any sponsorship, endorsement, nor association with any product or service described herein. The photographs, depictions, products, and ideas presented on this site are for informational purposes only. Your results may vary, and I do not imply nor guarantee the effectiveness, suitability, design or operation to adhere to any standard. I assume no legal responsibility for the implementation of anything herein presented! Use any and all information at your own risk! By using any and all information from this website, you accept the final liability for any use or possible associated misuse!

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With that said..
Blessings friends!

🙂