Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Gorgeous spot-but go alone

Saturday February 2, 2013
Site 16 Midway Campground
Big Cypress National Preserve


We meet the park ranger and an intern at Turner River Canoe Access on Route 41.  We are there to finish up our Triathlon by kayaking the Turner River with 16 of our closest friends.   Now that doesn’t sound like a big group, but on this river 4 kayaks and 6 canoes is a lot of boats. 

Turner River Paddle 1 (2)


The river starts out wide and easy.

Turner River Paddle 1 (9)


Of course you know who is sunning on the banks.

Turner River Paddle 1 (8)


The river narrows.

Turner River Paddle 1 (14)


Turner River Paddle 1 (15)



I’m being watched.

Turner River Paddle 1 (23)


Then things get very interesting as we move into the mangrove tunnels that is the river as it runs to Chokoloskee Bay.

Turner River Paddle 1 (25)


The tunnels get narrower and narrower.

I’m glad I’m short and not a canoe.

Turner River Paddle 1 (27)


Each of the three tunnels we travel opens into a wide spot in the river before narrowing back down into yet another tunnel.

Turner River Paddle 1 (32)


Turner River Paddle 1 (33)


The problem of such a large group becomes apparent.  Too much talking so we see almost no wildlife.  Or at least no one but the first person in the line sees any.   And the slow down and consistently being bumped from behind and thrown off course as those who aren’t experienced are very challenged by these narrow curvy spaces. 

Turner River Paddle 1 (36)


Turner River Paddle 1 (39)


We go through three tunnels and are are half the way to Chokoloskee when we stop for lunch and to then turn back.  The total trip is to take 4 to 5 hours so going all the way to Chokoloskee would be prohibitive in such a big group.  Whether we could go all the way and come back if we were alone, we aren’t sure.

Turner River Paddle 1 (40)


Turner River Paddle 1 (42)



I learn on the way down that a more enjoyable trip is had if you are at the end and the person in front of you is the best canoeist other than the guides. 

Turner River Paddle 1 (48)



So for me the trip back is much more enjoyable although the ranger keeps hurrying us along.  I’m the drift and wander type so I am really wanting to do this gorgeous river again alone.

Turner River Paddle 1 (53)


It is nearly impossible to take pictures if you also have to pilot your craft in these tight spaces with folks stopping ahead of you and bumping you from behind.  So there are no pictures of many of the other gators we saw and the 3 little raccoons I saw when I was in the front of the line. 


 Turner River Paddle 1 (59)


The river is wonderful but I would strongly recommend that you do it without a group so that you can go at your own pace and have the only noise be that of the birds.   I don’t think I could recommend using a Sea Eagle here.  I think the channels are just too narrow but I would definitely rent one of their canoes or kayaks if you can and get down into the mangroves.


On our way back to Winnona for our last night at Big Cypress, we stop at the Oasis Visitor Center to answer our last question and get our prize.

  9 mile pond paddle 007


The hat 001






So here we are  FINALISTS in the Tamiami Trail Triathlon.  Now how about that??    Come on down and do it yourself.  It is great fun!!


  1. Congrats on finishing. Looks like fun!!

  2. Yea, you did it! You are officially a triathlon!!

  3. What a wonderful morning I have had, after reading all your 'catch ups'!!! What a wonderful trip. would like to do that SO much!!!!
    So very, very glad you guys are getting to do all of these wonderful things!!!

  4. I like the look of those tunnels, but I can imagine with all the other people, it wouldn't be quite the same sort of adventure...love the picture of Dad coming out of a grove in his kayak. And, contgratuaions on finishing a triathlon - that is IMPRESSIVE :)

  5. Congratulatons Mr and Mrs. Triathlete:o))) Great Job!!! Rarely do you get to do a Triathlon alone...always a big crowd;o((

  6. So what's next, the Olympics? I know you love a challenge. ;c)

  7. Very good!! Another one for your history book :)

  8. Congratulations! Those tunnels sure look intriguing.

  9. Great job! It's too bad you had such a large group. If you decide to do it again another time, be aware of mosquito season. Those mangrove tunnels are a haven for hungry skeeters. We got trapped in one and were almost eaten alive!


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