FL - Loxahatchee River Jonathan Dickinson State Park - 2011/02/21 - 8.5 miles



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Northwest of Jupiter Inlet, the Loxahatchee river flows past isles of expensive homes to Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The park protects the rest of the river as it meanders west through untouched cypress and scrub palm forest.







This paddle began really badly before I ever got on the water. I was following my GPS without benefit of a detailed map. The unit tried to direct me through a private gated community. I backtracked and tried again driving in the general direction that I thought the launch ramp was located. This time it took me down a dirt road and I actually got within 200 yards of the ramp before the end of the road on the wrong side of the river. The GPS said the road went through but it did not. I tried again but it led me back to the gated community. Finally I got smart and gave up on the Lat/Lon favorite I had put into the unit and brought up the points of interest and found the park listed. The GPS then reliably led me to park entrance which was actually three miles from the ramp.



There is a five dollar admission fee, and the fee for the boat ramp is another four dollars. However, I lucked out and there was a special program in effect. Free admission if you paid for the ramp. Strange - but I was happy.

I drove down the long road and stopped at the kayak and canoe concession. They had a large number of canoes and the usual assortment of fat plastic kayaks. Here are the 2011 rates. At the end of the road is the single ramp with a mud and limestone beach to one side. I dropped the kayak and loaded the gear and then park in the moderately sized lot. There was a rest room at the back of the lot.




The river was about 50 yards wide near the ramp. I paddled upriver past the concession where a group of about 10 canoes were moving on the river like bumper cars with enthusiastic but totally inexperienced kids. My favorite was the canoe with one girl facing one way and the other facing the opposite way. About a mile up the river a small tributary wanders off the main stream through cypress swamp. This little side trip goes about a half mile before the channel gets so narrow and shallow that back paddling to a turnaround spot is the only option.



Incredibly large orchids were widely dispersed along the banks. There were several similar white flowers some slimmer than others.



As I progressed up the river the trees got larger with impressive drapes of Spanish moss. This heron seemed to be used to seeing people on the river as it did not mind as a paddled right under him.



These saw palmettos were growing in a thick bank. No one was passing through there.



A few canoes made it as far up the river as the Trapper Nelson homestead park. The landing was a little tight with four canoes already pulled up to the deep steep beach. The homestead is an interesting look into the life of a pioneer in the early settlement of Florida.



The paddle back was uneventful except for the amusement at the scattered canoe littering the river in the mile before the park concession.

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EVEN THE BEST BOATERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ON THE MILDEST OF DAYS ON THE WATER. PARTICIPATION IN THIS SPORT IS A STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY SUCH ACTIVITY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EACH BOATER TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER OWN SAFETY, AND IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE DANGER LEVEL AND ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPORT.


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