"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Way Down Upon the Suwannee River

Live Oak, FL
Suwannee River State Park

We're here to do some paddling down the Suwanee River.  The entire time we were here we could not stop singing, humming or whistling that song.  ~Way down upon the Suwannee River, far far away...~  The campground itself is small and very nice.  It even has a laundry room ($1.25 a load).  There are some trails we hiked too.

This short trail leads to an old, small cemetery.
I liked the feathery look of this giant dandelion.  It was about the size of my hand.
I love cemeteries.  Especially old ones.  There is something peaceful about them.  I love the history and reading the old stones and the inscriptions and the art on them.  Some are very unique.  I try to imagine what their lives were like and how it was to live back then.  I am a member of Find-a-Grave and when I get a request to do a look up, I go to that cemetery, find the grave (if there is a marker) and take a picture of it.  The info is uploaded to the website.  I have located many graves and I have also had others do the same for me.  This is a wonderful tool for genealogy, especially when your relative was buried in another state, far from where you live.

I thought this grave marker was really cool.  It was a tree stump.  The detail is amazing.  The base had lilies and ivy.  Mr. Cannon was born in 1877.  The writing and emblem intrigued me and I looked it up when I got back home.  The Woodsmen of the World is a very old fraternal organization.  Here is a little info about it: 
     The organization was founded in 1890 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Joseph Cullen Root who was a member of several fraternal organizations, including the Freemasons. The organization played an important role in broadcast history.   In 1949, it began a radio station which later began the television station WOW-TV. Among its first performers was Johnny Carson, who had a daily show called The Squirrel's Nest where he told jokes, conducted humorous interviews and staged various skits with wacky comic characters.
I hiked a short trail that mostly went along the river.  At this overlook you can see a couple that were fishing at the confluence of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers.  I later learned that the woman caught a 2 lb. white bass.  Nice.

See them at the base of the white sand?

There were some nice benches and swings where you could sit, relax and just watch the river flow by.  Being from Northern California, I was a bit nervous at first of watching out for poisonous snakes.  There are about 5 different types of rattlesnakes, cottonmouth, coral and copperhead to names just a few.  But the ranger told me that at this time of year they are not really around and tend to not hang out on the trails.  With the trail being covered with all the leaves and having our dog, Hurley, with us still made me more watchful.

With all the leaves and roots on the trail, I felt I had to watch for snakes more carefully.
This was my favorite area, with the Cypress trees.

This is a spring coming out of the ground and flowing into the Suwanee.  You can't tell from the picture, but the amount of water gushing up from the ground was amazing!  Clear spring water joining the tea-colored river water.


I know it's almost impossible to see the colored bands on the pole, but I can't even imagine what it was like having the flood water reach 60+ feet from where it normally is!

Being a person who loves to fish, I'm always curious what type of fish are in the river or lake that we're at.  There is quite a variety.  Much more so in the middle of the country and the East Coast than on the West.  Bass fishing in lakes and trout in rivers are our favorite.  But we're looking forward to catching something that isn't on the west coast.
We had planned to meet up with one of Steve's good family friends from Virginia, Linda & her husband Joe, at a nearby campground, Steven Foster SP.  It is a beautiful campground with very nice, private spots.  They have access to great hiking trails nearby.  I'd stay here next time because we ended up being shuttled up the Suwannee anyway to get to the put-in spot we wanted.  They were having a large Christmas Light Show.  Seems almost every park we've been at since Thanksgiving has these.  Or small town parades.  We do miss our Placerville Christmas Parade. (our son's, Shane, employer Western Slope, won 1st place for their Elvis Rock-n-Roll Float)  Anyway, they had the large oak trees and palm trees all decorated up!
In one of the buildings, they had a bunch of old train sets set up.  One area had an RV Park which we thought was cute.

Linda & Steve who haven't seen each other since they were little kids.  She had her campsite decorated up for Christmas.  They were part of a large group of 20+ friends.
Time to get on the water! The Suwannee River begins at the Okefenokee Swamp in Southern Georgia and empties into the Gulf of Mexico 246 miles later.  This is our maiden voyage in our new replacement kayak.  Steve  has named him Big Red.  Some of you will remember that back in North Carolina we had our kayak, Old Blue, stolen.  If you missed that post you can read about it  --HERE--

Here we are putting Big Red into the Suwannee River for his first voyage.  You can see the brown, tea colored water against the white sand at the bank.  This is a result of all the decomposed leaves, roots and bark.  Not the prettiest, but it makes for beautiful reflection pictures. 

Most of the banks are steep limestone, but every now and then there are some pretty white beaches.

Love the roots spreading out into the water and the Spanish Moss waving in the breeze.


Some pictures of where you can really see the limestone on the banks.


This is where you sing, "Way down upon the Suwannee River, far, far from away..."

There is a spring here, but we didn't have time to check it out.  It was getting late and
we didn't want to be out on the river at night!

We had a great time kayaking down the Suwannee River.  The beautiful sunset on the drive back home was a perfect way to end the day!  Goodnight everyone!


  1. Big Red, seems like a fitting name. Looks like a nice place to get out on the water!

    1. Suwannee was great, but WOW, Rainbow Springs is totally amazing (next post)!

  2. Never heard of Find-A-Grave, my aunt did genealogy back in the 70's & 80's, I bet she'd have loved to have the internet to help her out. Looks like a great maiden voyage for Big Red.

    1. Find-a-Grave is great. I don't consider my genealogy complete without a picture of the headstone (whenever possible) of that family member. Besides, sometimes you can get some very helpful info on the headstone to get you further back.

      We are adjusting to the color. It's so loud compared to blue. Red also has a nice new carbonite lock!

  3. Your photos are stunning - great post! I really like the one with the cypress trees in the little cove. That grave finding service is new to me, and such a smart idea. I'll have to look into it, as I enjoy walking old cemeteries as well. With a large Pacific storm headed our way for moving day, that peaceful paddle looks especially inviting!

    1. Instead of volunteer for my (old) county, I know type in whatever zip code we're camped in and if there are photo requests and I have time, I really enjoy going to new cemeteries and taking photos rather than just the few I used to go to. The county actually gave me maps as I was calling them so often for grave locations. I prefer small cemeteries (200<). It's sort of like a treasure hunt.

      I don't think that storm is going to wait for you, I hope you don't get too wet!! I'm glad that my brother lives down the road and is keeping an eye out on our place. Our power goes out easily in bad winds. If that happens we can get flooding in the basement if the sump goes out. And you just never know if they'll go out some day if you're not there when it happens! :-( How nice that you don't have to worry about your house anymore!! Congrats on this big step!


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