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Friday, July 19, 2002


Gene writes to announce plans for a ------
Paddle: Overnight on the Styx & Perdido Rivers

Overview:
Put-in on the Styx River midday Saturday. Spend Saturday night on a sandbar, maybe a 3-hour paddle away. There will hopefully be plenty of time to swim, explore, and perhaps do a little river clean up along the way. The worst trash should be within a short distance away from the put-in. On Sunday, paddle about 5 hours to a very small island campsite, past where the Styx River merges with the Perdido River, just below Black Lake. Should someone need to take-out Sunday, they can paddle up the Perdido for about ½ miles to Ruby’s Fish Camp. They will need their own transportation from Ruby’s, as I will continue on downstream with the main group. We will camp Sunday night on the island. This is an incredible campsite with high ground, a sandy landing/swimming area, cleared tent sites, and the breeze from the river. If it is already taken, I looked at two alternatives.

The take-out in a moderate 45 minute kayak paddle from the island. So, someone should be able to paddle to the take-out by Sunday afternoon if needed. On Monday, there is plenty of time for a swim, and exploration of the area. I plan a noon lunch on a shaded beach and then very short paddle to the take-out. This is intended to be a leisurely paddle that will afford time to enjoy the environment and the fellowship of the fellow paddlers.

Details:
Date: Sat. – Mon. July 27- 29

Put-In: Hwy. 87 bridge & Styx River

Meet at the Hwy. 87 bridge over Styx River at 12:00 Sat., or rendezvous with me at the new Robertsdale Post Office parking lot on U.S. 90 at 11:30. We can caravan to the Hwy. 87 bridge, drop the boats & gear there, then caravan to shuttle to the take-out at Hurst Landing (850 944-5496) Fish Camp in Florida where the Perdido River empties into Perdido Bay. Mr. Hurst will give us a special rate of no charge to take out and $1.00 to park each night. For those wishing to paddle only a day trip or one overnight), they can take-out at Ruby’s Fish Camp (850) 944-2537, ½ mile up the Perdido from where the Styx and Perdido converge. They will give us a special rate of $2.00 take-out and $2.00 overnight parking.

Eat lunch Saturday prior to rendezvousing or take it with you to the bridge. We could possibly plan to meet at a fast food restaurant in Loxley off of I-10 or in Robertsdale, if desired. I will probable eat at the Better Burger on Hwy. 59 in Robertsdale just south of the intersection of 104 & 59 in the Winn Dixie parking lot at 11:00.


Directions:

Put-In:

From Hwy. 59 (the I-10 to Gulf Shores route), turn east on Hwy. 90 at the triangle (highway intersection) of flags. From the east end of the triangle, it is perhaps ¼ of a mile to the Robertsdale Post Office on the left (alongside Hwy. 90) and 8.6 miles to the Hwy. 87 intersection on 90. Turn left (north) on Hwy. 87 at the Texaco station. I have not yet measured the distance on 87, but stay on it until you go under I-10 and then get to the Styx River Bridge, thereafter. The bridge is unmarked, but is the first real bridge over a river. Pass over the bridge and immediately turn left on a dirt road to drive under the bridge. Stay in the hard dirt. The plan is to unload everything, including spare people (to watch the boats). This is a popular local hangout and you will be able to guess why we will not want to leave out cars here overnight. I have felt comfortable with everyone I have met there, once I got to know them

Take-Out:

From here, we will retrace the route on 87 back to Hwy. 90 at the Texaco station. At Hwy. 90, we will turn left (east) onto 90 and cross the Styx and then, the Perdido Rivers. Ruby’s Fish Camp is approximately ½ mile on the left, off of 90, past the Perdido, at the first road to the left, called Ruby’s Fish Camp Road – can’t miss it. Anyone wishing to take out at Ruby’s can leave their car there. We will then continue east on 90 for a couple of miles to where Hwy. 90 splits: left on alt. 90 to Milton and right, Hwy. 90 (south – the way we want to go) to Pensacola.

In a couple of miles, turn right (south) on Hwy 99. Hurst Landing is at the terminus of 99. This is a 35-mph road, and should be. Go straight through a 4-way stop onto Hurst Hammock Road. This is not marked, but there is a sigh noting that there is no outlet. The speed limit here properly drops to 25. The boat ramp is at a bend in the road, marked by a "boat ramp" sign. There is limited parking. Mr. Hurst asked that we park (after dropping off the boats), in the vacant lot to the left of Hurst Landing Road. Note the clockwise direction of travel on the loop drive to the boat ramp. There are restrooms! Hold the handle down a little longer than you might be accustomed to , to complete the process.

The shuttle is still being worked out. Volunteers willing to drive people from Hurst Landing to the Hwy. 87 bridge are encouraged to contact me. I may have enough help already, but could use a back up.

Expenses: launch fees, and possible donation to the shuttle for gas.

Paddle Coordinator: Gene Boothe, H = (251) 928-1107, C = (251) 422-7451, e-mail = boothecg@bellsouth.net

Comments:
I plan to take members of my high school Sunday school class and anyone else that would enjoy going. I think of this as being an intermediate level paddle due to the length. Except for the length and expected hot weather, beginners should do al right. The days should be hot with possible rain. Yellow flies may be a problem. I am guessing that the first day will be about a 3-hour paddle with the next two being 5-6 hours of moderate paddling with frequent swim stops along the way. I want to take it easy and enjoy the trip. This includes the so called Indian mound (if we can find it), paddling through the tunnel (long culvert) into Black Lake, Blackwater River, Reeder Lake, Alligator Bayou, looking at flowers, an osprey nest, etc.

I have paddled the entire distance except for the second day (last sandbar on the Styx to above Black Lake), but will try to do so before the trip. If anyone would like to accompany me on this exploratory paddle – a day trip, please let me know. I paddled from Hurst Landing to Black Lake by myself yesterday. This included landing several times to swim, and explore possible campsites. No particular danger concern was noted. Obvious precautions for heat, snakes, etc. should always be observed wherever you go at this time of the year, but I had no problem paddling, wandering through the woods or wadding along the shoreline.

There are numerous twists and turns in the rivers, along with many islands, bayous, etc. Navigation is important, but not that difficult. I have excellent charts for the whole way. It will be important to stay with the group unless you feel confident you know the route. I will take volunteers to alternate running sweep for us. The topographical charts I use are: Elsanor, Seminole Quadrangle, and Lillian Quadrangle.

There was a noticeable downstream current on the bottom part of the Perdido, which will favor us.

The first campsite will be the last sandbar on the Styx south of I-10. The second is a small island just south of Black Lake.

Bring: own canoe/kayak & gear (paddles, lifejacket, etc.) or coordinate with others to share, trash bags for as much of a river clean up as we can, and perhaps a trash gabber.

Camping Supplies: tent with bug screen, sleeping gear (mat, covers-sleeping bag), garbage/dry bags to seal sleeping gear & change of clothes in to keep dry), optional: grown cloth for tent, long extension chord for hair dryers

Clothes: paddling clothes (swimsuit, long sleeve shirt for me), sleeping clothes, possibly a change of clothes for camp wear if others get wet, wide brim hat), rain jacket, water shoes

Food: breakfast Sunday & Monday (at campsites), lunch Sunday (somewhere along the way) and Monday (shaded beach), supper Saturday & Sunday (campsites), snacks for trip.

Water: Take enough to drink and cook for 2 ½ hot days. We should be able to resupply half way down at Ruby’s Fish Camp near Hwy. 90 on Sunday, if needed.

Misc.: flashlight, yellow fly spray/ointment ("Repel", from Wal Mart is recommended by the proprietor of Hurst Landing), sunscreen, small first aid kit, medicines you may take, TP & a small garden type hand shovel (I’ll explain if needed). These are just ideas. You may need other stuff. Those wishing to may leave emergency information with me with such information as who to contact in case of emergency, medications on and allergic to, family physician, car tag number, and any other information the emergency personnel might want to know, are encouraged to do so. Children should obviously be chaperoned.

I may go a little overboard on instructions and precautions, but have been a Boy Scout leader, platoon commander in the Marine Corps, a school teacher, and have found it expedient to be prepared for emergencies.

Also, I have been use to going into detail in giving instructions to my mentally handicapped students, before shifting to the gifted program. So, I hope that you will forgive my wordiness. Please contact me concerning any information you might need help with. Do contact me if you plan to paddle and need or can share gear.

Be conformable, but think light & compact. As we get a roster, we can think about sharing camping gear, canoes, etc. Gene Boothe