Big River: the Apalachicola
Two weeks ago the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition paddled the lower Apalachicola River system downstream for five days to Apalachicola Bay at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Winter has been chilly and wet in north Florida, and Week 6 of the Expedition was the coldest we’ve yet experienced, with rain, wind and sub-freezing temperatures across the region. The budding branch-ends teased of the coming spring, but the windchill while paddling and the ice layer frozen to our tents and boats each morning asserted that we were still weeks away from the warmth that people usually associate with Florida.
We sought temporary shelter from the wind as we left the big river to cut over to the Dead Lakes, a part of the Chipola River that is cloaked in mystery. The lakes are full of relic cypress stumps and skeleton tree trunks, several of which have osprey nests where there were once branching tree tops. Spanish moss drapes the living cypress and dances wildly in the wind, adding cartoonish character the spooky landscape.