Just a quick post touting one of the best canoe / kayak day trips I’ve been on. For a shakedown trip for our Suwannee River adventure, the Venture Patrol spent the day on the Silver River.
As the Silver River is a few hours from home, we went up on Friday and spent the night at the Youth Primitive Camping site at the Silver Springs State Park. The reason I mention it is that as you enter the primitive site, it’s as if you are on the set of an old horror movie…. because you are. Tons of movies have been filmed on the Silver River and a few of the movie companies left behind old props, sets, etc.
The next morning, although there is a canoe launch at the park, we drove down the road a bit to the Wayside Park on State Road 40. From there we traveled up river 5 miles, past the park, to the boil on one of the clearest rivers you’ve ever been on. This river is amazing. It seems almost untouched by man, which is probably why it is frequented so often by the studios looking for a place to film.
We saw a ton of alligators, turtles, birds, fish and other wildlife deep in the along the way. We even encountered a herd of wild pigs along the way. Most notably, and the best reason to go…. we saw monkeys. Two distinct tribes of them, about 30 in all, all Rhesus. Just past the park, going up river we started seeing them on the south side, just past the park. Just a few here and there. Once we made it the rest of the way up to the spring, we turned around and headed back down, taking some time for lunch. Once we were within a half mile of the spring, we saw a dozen of them at the same location as before. Moms, dads, babies and youth playing tag in the trees and along the bank. A little farther down on the north side of the river we saw the other tribe, hanging out, watching the boaters.
I was told later that we probably set out too early to see them in the morning, as they come out later in the day when the boat traffic picks up, waiting for a tourist to throw them food.
It was a great trip. Upstream was a bit strenuous as the current was a little swift that day (we were told 3.5 mph), but coming back down to complete the 10 mile journey was pretty leisurely.
We used our council camp, Camp LaNoChe as our outfitter, as they were on the way. They loaded canoes and kayaks onto the trailer for us and we had them for $2 per day / per boat and just dropped off the trailer when we were done. For more information on the the trail, check out these guys: http://www.clubkayak.com/cfkt/trips/silver_river.html