Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kayaking Along the Emerald Coast

Last weekend turned out pretty good. On Saturday I purchased a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 120 kayak. It's a bright banana yellow (not my first choice, but hey—it was on sale) and I also picked up a kayak cart to help in transporting it when necessary. Then I just had to sit out a rainy Saturday and hope that Sunday would be clear enough to paddle Boiling Creek as planned.

Boiling Creek is a beautiful pristine creek located south of Milton on the Eglin Reservation. The last couple of miles of the paddle is along the Yellow River and although not as scenic, is still a nice place to paddle. I'd heard a lot about this creek in regard to its clear water and vibrant plant life, but I'd never done this particular float trip before and had looked forward to it for weeks. I am thrilled to say that I was not disappointed!

Getting there was a lot easier than getting to some of the other creeks on the Eglin Reservation, and the group that we were traveling with had a good shuttle plan in place so we were all able to drop our kayaks in the water as soon as we got there and head off. Immediately a sense of wonder takes over and it's almost as if you're transported to another time and place.

The water was clear even despite the previous day's rain. Beautiful pitcher plants lined the banks and various types of lilies decorated the surface of the creek. The current itself was slow and easy, allowing me to relax and just enjoy the ride, which was fine. It's easy to get absorbed in watching the aquatic life beneath while drifting along.

At one point an otter leaped into the water between Kris's kayak and my own. It was one of those moments in time that I didn't even bother to fiddle with the camera because I knew I'd never get it focused in time, rather, I just watched the otter swim easily beneath my kayak and disappear into a bed of lilies on the opposite side of the creek.

At one point I angled my kayak in closer so that I could get some detailed pictures of one of the lilies, and to my surprise my kayak started to sing! As the kayak drifted over the top of some of the underwater vegetation, it created the same effect as a bow being drawn across fiddle strings. I'm thinking about christening the new kayak “Siren Song.”

We'd started early to avoid the threat of rain and managed to have a dry trip, even stopping for lunch right before Boiling Creek joins with the Yellow River. This trip has become my favorite float trip by far, even in comparison to Turkey and Econfina Creeks. The sheer peace and tranquility makes it a favorite and I can't wait to get back out there and do it again!

Plan your own float trip on Boiling Creek here.