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

Henry David Thoreau

The search for Bear Creek

Saturday April 6, 2013
Site 9 Ochlockonee River State Park
Sopchoppy, Florida


Saturday April 6

Today after breakfast and packing a lunch.  We take the kayaks down to the boat launch where we pump up the Sea Eagle so we will have kayaking for three.   I “should” have taken some pictures of this for those who haven’t seen it before but I just plum forgot.


This is a very BIG map but you’ll need it.

Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 211A


The park has a couple of nice places to put into the Ochlockonee River and a paddling trail of 7.5 miles down Bear Creek.  It’s a beautiful day and this looks like a great trail.   See the above map, it’s marked in red.

David gets this map from the ranger station and after waiting for several motor boats (a hazard of week-end paddling) we set off to the right as he directs.  See the boat dock labeled on the map. Luckily this is in the opposite direction of the bigger wave making boats. 

Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 115 



David has the map while we are paddling.  We’re following the relatively straight red line down to where it cuts across through the squiggly red bear creek back to the Ochlockonee River and back to the ramp.  A nice circle.  And the nicest thing is that we will be going with the river all the way as we cut across.  Going with it to the Creek, through the creek and back out the other side.  NICE!

Although at the beginning we can hear the bigger noisier boats; as we begin to paddle, things get quieter and quieter.   I wonder and ask David what is this creek called.  He says this is a part of the river. (see map)


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 118


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 120


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 135



We paddle quite a long way before we get to “the river”.

Later we find the map has no bridge on it at all.  The map looks like a satellite image so why didn’t it show the bridge?   We never do figure that out.  The river is much rougher than the water we have been in.   We go straight across and start down to the Bear Creek turn in which is supposed to be the first left.


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 137 


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 140 


As we cross the river, on the other side we see this osprey nest with the resident at home.

Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 152



Oh my,  paddling back up.

We paddle with the river down and down and down and finally we determine that somehow we have missed bear creek.   Now we have to turn around and paddle back up this river against the current.   I don’t have pictures of that.  It wasn’t fun and I couldn’t stop paddling.

By the time we find Bear Creek David has determined that he misread the map.  That the Boat dock was not where the sign on the map was but where the arrow pointed to and we had turned incorrectly immediately. (see map)

We had actually gone to the right out of the boat dock and down the little dark squiggly line rather than going to the left and directly into the river.  It was a lovely little stream and we are all glad that we spent more time there than on the busy river.  If we had just turned left when we got to the river, we’d have been fine.  But we were already past Bear Creek before we came out into the river. 

 Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 159


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 169


We find Bear Creek finally.

We have spent most of the afternoon going the wrong way and figuring out what went wrong so we have only a little time in Bear Creek and are sorry we will not have time to come back and do it right before Carrie leaves.   But it is back across the river for us.  The water is much less rough now later in the afternoon and there are fewer boats.


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 181


So back to our little creek we go and back to the boat dock. 

Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 186


The Sea Eagle prefers backwards.

David has been having a bit of trouble with the Sea Eagle all afternoon.  It keeps turning him around and prefers to go backwards.  I jokingly tell him I think he must have put the seat in backwards.  That turns out not to be true.  We wonder now if didn’t have the bottom pumped up fully enough.  We don’t use the Sea Eagle often and probably should look up some directions and keep them with it.  Or get some advice from those of you who use yours all the time.   But we had fun and David got very proficient at paddling backwards.


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 191   

Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 193


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 200


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 202


We Finally Find the Final Four.

After our wandering kayak, we decide we’ll have dinner and watch the NCAA Basketball Final 4.  We don’t have any teams in the final 4 but we all like basketball and have watched ACC and then NCAA basketball for years.  BUT, apparently the only CBS station is broadcasting from the North side of Tallahassee and we are 30 miles south of Tallahassee about 10 miles from the Forgotten Coast.  So we can’t get CBS on TV at all.  Bummer……….but Carrie says she knows how to get the NCAA on the computer so that’s what we do.

Congrats to you Howard!

Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 205


Ochlockonee Friday & Saturday 206    

This sure has been a day of searching for things.


  1. Thinking we're going to have to get kayaks some day.

    Beautiful blue sky you had!


  2. Isn't this about the journey, not the destination?

  3. Always love the kayaking! We miss using our Sea Eagle, not many places around here to put her in. Our time will come!

  4. paddling backwards? Now that take some skill! I've never heard of anyone having that problem with their Sea Eagles. Our Sea Eagle Fast Track kayaks have a blow up keel and a hard floor that has to be properly inflated, plus a hard skeg. I'm guessing he didn't get something inflated enough.

    Nice paddle despite your detour. Have you seen the white squirrels yet?

  5. Might have gone the wrong way, but you had a nice paddle anyway.

  6. This looks like a blast! Sorry you went the wrong way, but it looks like it was still a pretty neat adventure. What a workout to go that far in the Sea Eagle that likes to go backwards. It's hard enough going forward. Great pics and writeup. I love a good paddle adventure!

  7. Beautiful paddle. Admire how active you are with hiking, kayaking, biking and swimming every day! Thanks for sharing.

    If the seat is too far back the keel and front end lifts out of the water making it hard to paddle a straight course. The slightest wing will twirl the boat (weather-vain). Try centering the seat if it can be moved. In a two person canoe where seats can't be moved, a solo paddler sits "backwards" in the front seat to better center and balance weight, and the stern "becomes" the bow. In the third to last kayaking photo you are perfectly centered in your Necky; while David's seat position has over 2/3 of the boat out in front of him. Neat pictures! Don

  8. What a "bear" of a paddle! You still had a great time, even slipped in a little workout on the river portion. ;c)

    Anytime spent together is worth it and the weather was perfect. Glad it worked out in the end and you had a great time with Carrie.

    On our Sea Eagle, we make sure to overinflate it just a bit and I find that if I put the seat as far back as possible, it handles better. But the Sea Eagle never will handle as good as a hard side kayak. Still, our Sea Eagle is a good compromise to be able to carry it in the limited storage space we have.

  9. What versatility... David sure can adapt to any situation;o)) It's just great to see the three of you out enjoying this beautiful river together!!!

  10. Great post, as usual, and I'm so happy you and David are getting to enjoy your time with Carrie. You sure are a nature loving/nature doing family! I'm glad, too, that the weather is holding up for you. Beautiful here, too, but storms are a'comin by Thursday.

    I always wanted to kayak, don't think I'll ever see that dream come true so how lucky am I that I get to go along with you guys. :)

  11. Fun stuff - what a great place to get lost!

  12. I agree with well, all the comments but Catherine's is what I was going to say! great place to get lost!

  13. Oh that David! There he goes again proving there isn't anything he can't do -- including paddling backwards! :-)


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!