The Lost Portage – connecting streams in the Everglades!

The Lost Portage – you can get there from here!

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“Please tell me you’re not going to Canepatch!”

said the Park Rangerette when I stepped up to get my backcountry camping permit at Flamingo.

“How’d you know? What’s wrong with Canepatch?”, I asked.

“Bugs, it’s really bad with the bugs”, she replied.

As it turns out, I was going to Canepatch, but probably not the way she was thinking.

Thus begins a real Everglades Holidays adventure during the last few days of 2016!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

The Lost Portage loop at the end of 2016 was a weather balloon shaped route of about 87 miles total.
Due to the remote location, I compacted the trip down to 4 days/3 nights!

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The “Lost Portage” is a term used to describe an inland connection between two streams of the Everglades’ “River of Grass”, also known as the Shark River Slough. They are the Broad River and the Harney/Shark River streams, as they originate from the slough, and before they become actual rivers!

The reason for going through the Lost Portage is to go directly between two of the most remote Everglades backcountry campsites – Canepatch and Camp Lonesome. Any paddler considering camping at these sites would think it obvious that there should be a direct inland connection between them, but officially there is not! So the typical Wilderness Waterway paddler is directed to either head out into the Gulf, or go through something called the “Nightmare”. Either option means a long paddle out and then back in, closer to the interior. A direct connection should be much, much shorter!

I’ve always been interested in running this “shortcut” route since first looking at the map. It turns out that interest in this inland connection goes back at least to the late 1960’s and the origins of the roughly 100 mile Wilderness Waterway. Apparently the Park was really interested and even considered dredging this shortcut to make it navigable for paddlers. However it was decided to route the official Wilderness Waterway through the Nightmare instead.

As far as I can gather, the Lost Portage has been run probably since the 1970’s by Outward Bound groups and the Sierra Club. Before that, about half of the portage section appears to have been an old airboat trail. Before that, in the time that the Everglades were still untouched, I’m sure that Native peoples would have had a regular route there. After all, the campsites we visit today are actually mounds that were built up and occupied for a very long time! In this century, the Lost Portage connection was first recorded in December 2009 by Keith W., Terry Helmers and Charley Arazoza team from the Everglades Exploration Network.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Early morning launch into Coot Bay Pond.

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For the last couple of years, I’ve been actively trying to put together this trip. I didn’t want to go it alone, but it’s really difficult to find other people able to do this for any number of reasons. For instance, reasons like time constraints, paddling ability, fitness level, willing to endure bugs, mud, uncertainty and long miles would be at the top of the list.

Finally at the start of this season, I was excited to find a suitable paddling partner in local kayaker, hiker and adventurer Leah H. of Miami. Leah is an avid outdoors person who loves to spend time on the water and on the trail. She’s a capable paddler and ultralight hiker extraordinaire, and also an excellent navigator.

Due to distances involved and time constraints during the Holiday break, I laid out a 4 day / 3 night route where we could close to gap in the shortest amount of time. This meant a fairly ambitious schedule and longish daily paddling miles. It was the only realistic way to run the trip, as neither of us were willing to spend a week doing it!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Everglades Art Roots paddling Photography mangroves florida keys bay estuary dreadlocks landscape kayak

“Mangrove canopy Cathedral at Coot Bay” from another trip.
Kayakfari ART photography
South Florida’s walking coastal Mangroves – Roots Paddling, Photography and Dreadlocks!

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Heading out of Coot Bay Pond to Coot Bay, there is a beautiful Cathedral-like mangrove creek that’s always a treat to see! Per the tide situation presented to us, Leah suggested reversing the route which originally had us at Canepatch the first night. The new way would work better, allowing us to ride the tides as much as possible. The only downside was that the last day would also be the longest paddle of the trip!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

Day 1 was a beautiful run up the Joe River to the Graveyard Creek backcountry campsite on the Gulf.

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NOTE:

The Lost Portage is NOT an official route of any kind and should always be considered as experimental Everglades exploration. Variations in water levels, paddlers’ abilities, stamina, planning and navigation will mean that each trip will be a true adventure! Even with GPS, Google Earth and EDEN data, there are no guarantees and reports of Lost Portage transits range from 2 hours to 2 days!

Be absolutely sure you know what you are getting into before considering doing this kind of a trip!

Safety first means planning and research first!!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Cruising up the Joe River with local paddler and adventure hiker Leah H. in her well matched Montauk sea kayak.

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There’s a lot to cover, so I’m going to fast forward through much of the routine paddling and camping. I’m also gonna let the pics and captions tell most of the story so you can see more of the Lost Portage.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Instructional placard inside outhouse at Joe River Chickee.
Never throw your t-shirt into the toilet!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Emptying out into Ponce de Leon Bay on the Gulf.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Camp at Graveyard Creek with our new friend Viktor who was on his solo two-way wilderness waterway paddle (200 miles). He made it!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Graveyard Creek at sunrise presented us with swarms of millions of no-see-ums! Ouch!!
I stayed inside my tent as long as possible.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

The walking mangroves have fully rebounded since Hurricane Wilma tore a path through here in 2005. It still has that buggy-silty-muddy ambience!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Low tide in the morning leaves only one main water channel where fish congregate.
The Pelicans then take full advantage in a brief feeding frenzy.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Aerial view of low tide at Graveyard Creek in the morning at the end of 2016. Note all the lush green growth!
CLICK for 360 interactive spin-around view!

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It’s been several years since I last camped at Graveyard Creek, and it has since become much more overgrown. There were a lot of mosquitoes upon arrival, and then a million no-see-ums in the morning! Previously, there was a lot more open space and it really had more of a “graveyard” feel to it as you can see in the panorama below from a 9 day trip back in 2009.

Interestingly, our fellow campers at the creek were unanticipated, but strangely enough we all kinda knew each other. I had paddled previously with Viktor who was a day ahead of his Wilderness Waterway trip schedule, and Leah actually knew the others that arrived later as they couldn’t make their planned chickee campsite.

You never know who you’ll run into in the Everglades! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Everglades Art Roots paddling Photography mangroves florida keys bay estuary dreadlocks landscape kayak

“Kayaker at Graveyard Creek”, February 2009 – Kayakfari Art Photography.
When the Graveyard Creek area really looked like a graveyard!
CLICK for superwide interactive panorama!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

Day 2 was an easy run up the Gulf shoreline and riding the tide into Camp Lonesome on the Broad River.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Moving forward, cruising up the Broad River into the Everglades with the tide.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Drive-by peek of the new dock at the Broad River backcountry campsite.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Mid-afternoon arrival at the Lonesome Creek campsite mound already occupied by a group of fishermen folk on their own multi-day campout!

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We arrived at Camp Lonesome in record time, thanks to the incoming tide. However the site was already occupied by a group of fishermen in their flats boats. Turns out they set up most of Camp Lonesome as their base camp for an annual multi-day fishing/camping shin dig.

Luckily there was just enough space left for a couple of tents, and they were nice, friendly folks. They did bring a lot of gasoline however. Later on, they ran a small generator all night by the dock, ostensibly to keep air mattresses from deflating during the night .. but it was not a silent night! On the plus side, nobody could really hear anybody else, plus I tend to fall asleep easily to the rhythmic drone of machinery.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Gasoline lineup fueling a machine-intensive version of an outback experience!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

When the Camp Lonesome mound was not so lonesome. Not pictured is one more larger tent tucked away over on the left.
CLICK for superwide interactive view!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Plastic picnic table with burn marks from a careless visitor’s previous cooking attempts with our tents in the background at Camp Lonesome.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

‘LONESOME’ Geodetic marker from 1955!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Leah went full Pharaoh while the others fished!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

How the other half lives – a quick peek inside the giant bedroom sized tent at Camp Lonesome.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Camp Kayakfari on top of the mound that is Camp Lonesome.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Beautiful view from the Camp Lonesome dock in the late afternoon.

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In contrast to Graveyard Creek, there were absolutely zero bugs at Lonesome which made for a pleasant afternoon and evening. The fisher-folk group made one of the picnic tables available to us, so that made dinner and hanging out more fun. Also, thanks to all the foliage and the two gazebos, there wasn’t any morning dew to deal with either!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

My delicious dinner is ready at Camp Lonesome .. 🙂
CLICK for: Tasty & Quick Cooking!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Busy morning departing from a not-so-lonesome Camp Lonesome.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

Approximate route running the Lost Portage from north to south on day 3.
Note that it’s also possible to take the back route to/from Canepatch and shave off about a mile of paddling, but the portage is still the portage!!

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Day 3 – today is the day!

Finally the trip turns to the adventurous side as we contemplate running the Lost Portage!

There is an excellent resource called EDEN (Everglades Depth Estimation Network) that makes water level data from dozens of stations available online to help with planning Everglades paddling trips. The most relevant one is station BR which is on the Broad River, and very close to the north portal of the Lost Portage.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Paddling on the Broad River into the early morning liquid light.

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Trips like this one closer to the slough interior are highly dependent on seasonal water levels. This means that most trips should take place in October, November or December when water levels are still high, yet temperatures and bugs hopefully lower!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

The Broad River gets less and less so as we cruise in further towards the Everglades interior.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Leah ready to take on the Lost Portage!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

A Vulture warms up as we approach the entrance to the north portal of the Lost Portage.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

The sun is shining and I’m excited as we’re about to go in! 🙂

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The gauge from station BR showed a level of -0.29ft for 12/29/2016 – the day of our transit. In comparison, this is significantly lower than levels of other recorded transits.

Looking back at BR historical data, the first recorded transit by Keith, Terry and Charlie in early December 2009 was in the +0.5ft range. Two runs made only days apart around Christmas 2013 show +0.8 dropping to +0.24ft. Historical all time highs were in October 2015 with readings of +2.0 feet!!

This meant that we would probably have a tougher time getting through. As of this writing in mid January 2017, we see a further drop of another foot to -1.26 ft!!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

Satellite view of the north portal spur of the Lost Portage on the Broad River.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Actual entry into the north portal off the Broad River.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Lots of spiders early in the morning. I was able to duck under this one.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Paddling the north portal spur of the Lost Portage.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Out of boat for a “shortcut” – the 20ft sea kayak doesn’t like tight switchbacks very much.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Another shortcut, this time with Leah out of boat.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Leah navigating the deeper water channels through the mangroves of the Lost Portage.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Aerial view of the north end of the Lost Portage in the deeper mangrove creek section. You can zoom into the distance due SE and see “Lake Deception” and the south portal in the distance.
CLICK for 360 spin-around interactive panorama!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Aerial view of the maze-like north end of the Lost Portage.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

The first muddy stretch was just a taste and a warm up! 😉

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There was bird life in the Lost Portage area and we saw Ibis, Herons, Curlews, Crows and even some Roseate Spoonbills!

As previously mentioned, Leah is an ultralight backpacking specialist, both in gear and mentality. This is generally very good advice! However, for a photographer like me, this would never do. This meant that she was carrying a lot less weight, and consequently had a much easier time getting through all the muck!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

“Lake Deception” on the Lost Portage. It looks beautiful and inviting but only has a few inches of water with very deep quick-sand like mud underneath!

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The mud looks very rich and kind of thick. Depths ranged from a few inches to up to my chest. About in the middle, it opened up to a pond that I shall call “Lake Deception”. It was deceptive because it looked beautiful, but was really shallow with very deep mud. That’s where I went up to my chest and then swam through this quick-sand like mud!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Things got a little easier once I went with socks only!

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I’d estimate the weight of Leah’s boat and gear probably at around 80 lbs or so. For me that figure was likely double that as I also had more water and gear that I was carrying. The saddest part for me was carrying a not-so-lightweight photo kit (with tripod!) that I had been so far unable to use. Night one at Graveyard Creek was buggy and not so scenic. Night two at Lonesome was bug-free, but also ambience-free since it was so packed and sonically violated!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

In the thick of it on the Lost Portage in the Everglades!

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It took me a little while to get into the swing of things to move my 20ft sea kayak through the mud. The center groove of the trail has the deepest mud, so it’s really tough to walk through let alone pull from. I was literally crawling on all fours in the mud pushing, shoving, pulling. I quickly settled on socks only because my booties kept coming off. Then I decided to walk backwards, straddling the boat and lifting it by the coaming slightly to release the mud suction and shoving it forward with all my might! This was slow and hard work, but at least I was moving. I also had pretty good footing on the firmer mud on either side.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Back in my redneckin’ days I used to drive over similar terrain in air-conditioned comfort.
Now I’m just shoving a boat around!

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Leah helped me through the first muddy stretch, but then she had to deal with her own. Getting through the mud parts took a long time, but I had no choice, no breaks, just catch my breath and keep shoving boat forward a few feet at a time.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Don’t be fooled, it’s tough work sliding a loaded sea kayak over the mud! More water would’ve made a big difference!!

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It seemed like there was about a quarter mile of this deep muck to get through. Then once on the “straightaway”, the old airboat section of the trail, the water got a bit deeper and the boat actually somewhat floated. At this point I determined the quickest progress was by shoving the boat forward from the stern and catching up to it. Now I was making progress a dozen feet or more at a time – really moving! 😉

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Mud, mud, mud .. everywhere is Mud!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

In my darkest hour on the Lost Portage deep in z Everglades.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

The Lost Portage details – connecting two streams of the Everglades!

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Once on this stretch, I could see the mangroves in the near distance where I figured the south portal would be. Now I knew I was home free! Leah came back for the second time, and I hooked up a tow strap with 1″ webbing on either side to pull as a team. Now the pace really picked up and we pulled the semi-floating Banana Boat the final couple of hundred feet in just minutes!

BIG thanks to Leah!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Giving Praise, knowing that my Salvation in the Everglades is literally at hand!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Leah remains stylish throughout it all in in her outback mini in this great aerial view of the south end of the Lost Portage! 😉

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

South end of the Lost Portage in this aerial view of an old airboat trail on the “straightaway” section.
Why so many Leah’s? I needed all the help I could get! 😉
CLICK for 360 spin-around interactive panorama!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

The mangrove “finger” jutting out into the prairie at the south portal to the Lost Portage.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

Satellite view of the south portal of the Lost Portage and connecting spur tributary “finger” to the North Harney River.

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The transition from the muddy open grass prairie to the mangrove finger(s) is really an amazing place, probably my favorite part of the whole trip! It reminded me of a previous trip paddling down the length of the Shark River Slough where I witnessed this in a place called Bottle Creek.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Actual entry into the mangroves of the south portal on the Lost Portage.

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This “mangrove finger” as it were is actually a small tributary to the North Harney River. This is the place where a part of the river is born and I hope to spend more time here one day!

The entrance into the creek is clear, but there’s a sharp bend, so it took me a bit to position the 20ft sea kayak properly. While I was doing this I inadvertently slipped off the prairie ridge and into the creek. It was at least six feet deep and very clear and refreshing as it snapped me out of my mud-induced-slumber.

In any case, I took a much needed but unexpected bath while thoughts of alligators raced through my head!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Paddling the creek of the “mangrove finger” which is a tributary to the North Harney River.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

The Lost Portage connects tributaries to the Broad River and Harney/Shark River streams within a space of about a mile or so!
Shark River Slough better known as the “River of Grass” is the best known feature of the Everglades and feeds several rivers that empty out into the Gulf of Mexico.

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The red line shown above is an airboat trail which runs down the middle of the Shark River Slough and is another way to reach Canepatch from the interior (Tamiami Trail)!

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Shark River Slough Everglades Aerial expedition camping River of Grass kayakfari Flex Maslan kayak canoe main street

Aerial view paddling down “Main Street” on the Shark River Slough from a previous trip also enroute to Canepatch.
CLICK for: Kayaking the River of Grass – a Shark River Slough Expedition!

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Looking back at this Lost Portage experience in hind-sight a few things stand out:

If possible time trip when gauge readings are above zero!

Overall, it took us about six hours to traverse from the north portal to the south portal with the gauge reading at -0.29 ft. Most of that time was spent in the mud zone!

Don’t rely on this route with a fully loaded sea kayak or canoe!

Start trip at the south portal, because you can immediately see the water levels before fully committing!

Know that it will always be an adventure!!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Cruising down the North Harney River enroute to Canepatch – BLESS!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Arrival at the Canepatch campsite dock in the late afternoon meeting new/old friends.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

My rudder did not survive the Lost Portage – the block came off the pin with no way to fix in the field. 😦

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We reached Canepatch in the late afternoon, greeted by a young couple on their own Wilderness Waterway adventure. Turns out that Leah knew them as well from the hiking scene. Also we were visited by volunteer Rangers John and Donna Buckley who came up from Tarpon Bay to check up on us!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Walkway leading to the dry ground of the Canepatch backcountry campsite (mound).

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Canepatch Indian mound camping kayakfari Cane Patch aerial Flex Maslan Shark River Slough Everglades

Aerial Buzzard’s-eye-view of the clearing at Canepatch from another trip.
CLICK for: Canepatch Indian Mound (Avocado Mound)

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

‘TARPON2’ – one of two geodetic markers at Canepatch.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Celebratory beer with sunset after our successful traverse of the Lost Portage from Camp Lonesome to Canepatch! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Feeling pumped up, strong like Rocky!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

A bit of Kung-fu fightin’ while we still had energy at Canepatch!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Our kayaks in the still of the night by the Canepatch dock on a new (no) moon night.

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There were almost no bugs at Canepatch. After a collaborative dinner I was free at last to use my photo kit to capture these images in the stillness of the Everglades night! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

“Silent Night” – stars reflecting in mirror-like water at Canepatch.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

360 all-sky view from the darkness of Canepatch, due north at bottom.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari photographer kayak camping stars night Everglades landscape pano print art Florida Bay slough shark camping with the stars

“My God, it’s full of Stars!”
ART of Darkness – Camping with the Stars! Part II

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Zipped up in tent! Actually there we almost no bugs at Canepatch that night, just lots of condensation in the morning!

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I only wished I could have gotten a good night’s sleep at Canepatch. Throughout the whole trip I was fighting a head cold, and could not breathe through my nose. This made sleeping very difficult! 😦

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove satellite

The final leg of the trip was supposed to be “only” 27 miles via Whitewater Bay, but we had to re-route back into Joe River due to the strong NE winds!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Our new friends Cody and Abigail depart Canepatch on their own Wilderness Waterway adventure.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Leaving Canepatch in the early morning for the final and longest stretch of the trip w/o the benefit of my rudder!

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The return trip from Canepatch back to Coot Bay Pond was already scheduled to be at least 27 miles, the longest of the whole trip. However a cold front blowing from the NE was moving through that Friday, but it hadn’t switched to N-NW yet. We had to re-route back into the Joe River so as to not have to deal with quartering seas on Whitewater Bay, thus it extended the distance to 34 miles!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Paddling westbound on Tarpon Bay in the Everglades.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Everglades Art Roots paddling Photography mangroves florida keys bay estuary dreadlocks landscape kayak

Mangroves bathed in a soft and beautiful light near Oyster Bay!
Kayakfari Art Photography
South Florida’s walking coastal Mangroves – Roots Paddling, Photography and Dreadlocks!

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I was kinda in a multiple-jeopardy here because I was weakened from lack of sleep and fighting a head cold. Then the temperatures dropped significantly and even with extra layers I had to keep moving briskly to avoid getting chilled by the cold wind. On top of the weather conditions, I didn’t have the use of my rudder. The Banana Boat (Seda Glider) weathercocks significantly w/o rudder, and I had to waste energy on a lot of corrective strokes and leaning. Actually the best paddling conditions for me were straight into the 15-18 knot winds on the final stretch due east into Whitewater Bay!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

On the Joe River (again) in the late afternoon.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Nearing sunset and paddling into the brisk easterly winds on Whitewater Bay.
Going into the wind was the best paddling without benefit of the rudder, but it always looks nice backwards – right?!

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The whole last day I think I was running pretty much on adrenaline. Through it all I couldn’t help but think of the combination platter I was handed! All the above mentioned multiple problems I was faced with – I was able to deal with. However, if one or more were added – well that’s how accidents can happen, and I knew I was pushing my luck!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Afterglow of a gorgeous sunset, with the high clouds of a cold front. Still paddling down Coot Bay.

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I was happy to take a few minutes admiring the sunset from Coot Bay knowing I was less than a mile from finishing up!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

Finish back at Coot Bay Pond just after dark!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari lost portage canepatch lonesome everglades kayak canoe shark river slough camp backcountry paddle wilderness mangrove experimental

It’s 6pm, temperatures are dropping and I know where my truck is. Homeward bound!

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That adventure smile! 🙂

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More information about the Lost Portage at:

http://gladesgodeep.ning.com/forum/topics/the-lost-portage-is-no-longer

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NOTE:

The Lost Portage is NOT an official route of any kind and should always be considered as experimental Everglades exploration. Variations in water levels, paddlers’ abilities, stamina, planning and navigation will mean that each trip will be a true adventure! Even with GPS, Google Earth and EDEN data, there are no guarantees and reports of Lost Portage transits range from 2 hours to 2 days!

Be absolutely sure you know what you are getting into before considering doing this kind of a trip!

Safety first means planning and research first!!

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! BLESS – Feel Irie

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© 2017 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.

All rights reserved!

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!

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