In the heart of North Florida’s vast forests lie hundreds of crystalline springs that feed several outstanding rivers and waterways. Paddle some of these scenic rivers!
Be sure to download the following files:
Kayak at the gateway to the 100-mile wilderness waterway. Enjoy historic and infamous Everglades City and Chokoloskee. Stay at comfortable accommodations with hot showers.
Kayaks, paddles and PFDs will be provided by the guides. We will be paddling 12 foot plastic Neckys. These are solo recreational kayaks. Every day we will be accompanied by two very experienced naturalist guides, who will provide insight into the area’s ecology and natural history.
Deep in the southern and eastern part of Florida, the 10,000 islands, Big Cypress, and Everglades all hang precariously on the edge of our day-to-day world. This spectacular area is an aquatic preserve and home to a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and numerous wading birds. They make up a chain of mangrove islands off the coast of southwest Florida. This refuge is part of one of the largest expanses of mangrove estuary in North America. Our van transport will take us each day to a new launch point in this mystic wilderness. Mangroves and magnificent sunsets move us to memories of our more primitive past. A time when birds blacken the sun and reptiles ruled in this river of grass. Our kayaks will let us penetrate this liquid landscape to reveal its secret
Day 1 — For those flying, our guides will meet us at the Fort Myers airport at noon. You and your gear will be in will be transported in passenger van(s) . For anyone driving, I will provide directions to the Ivy House in Everglades City, where we will be staying. This rustic, picturesque little fishing village willbe our base for the week. After we meet and greet, a basic kayak orientation will be available. The first meal of the trip is dinner, and then we’ll be off to sight see and toast the sunset!
Day 2 — We will launch our kayaks and cruise to the Turner River.
Turner River is one of many rivers that transition the slow-moving, shallow river of grass in the Everglades to the mangrove islands on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. This narrow, twisting stream of clear water moves beneath the wiry, entwined limbs of low, overhead red mangroves forming a tunnel of green, waxy leaves arching completely across the waterway. Between the intermittent tunnels, the saw grass of the freshwater grass prairie that stretches southward from the shore of Lake Okeechobee slowly loses its battle to the salt-tolerant mangroves. Myriads of large birds hunt along the shores in the tall saw grass and fly overhead in large flocks. We’ll stop by the infamous Smallwood Store (a museum of Everglades past) on Chokoloskee Island (this is the setting for the demise of Mr. Watson in Peter Matthiessen book “Killing Mister Watson”).
Day 3 — After breakfast our van will transport us to our drop point on Halfway Creek. Following the tide, we paddle this beautiful creek. It is considered one of the prettiest in the 10,000 Islands. Large buttonwood trees filled with bromeliads and the occasional orchid can be seen at the upper end.
Day 4 — We’ll move north and launch into Goodland Bay. Goodland is just south of the well known Marco Island and is the direct gateway to the 10,000 Islands. We’ll ride the tide out to Coon Key for a picnic-style lunch. There will be time to explore and photograph the neighboring keys, Tripod and Brush. Keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins and expect spectacular scenery birds feasting everywhere.
Day 5 — Today we will take the twisting mangrove-lined Blackwater River to Mud Bay. Mud bays and flats may look barren, but in reality they are teeming with life. The mudflats attract all manner of hungry inhabitants. Old homestead locations like Old Grove and Grocery Place are of historical interest. This river trail meanders through almost 5,000 acres of mangrove wilderness preserve.
Day 6 — After breakfast, we will pack lunches and put on our wet shoes. Our guide will take us into the Big Cypress Preserve, which includes areas touted to be North America’s tropical rain forest. We will walk part of the Fire Prairie Trail, which (conditions permitting) will include for those with a suitable sense of adventure a walk into the swamp. The swamp walk will be a “wow” experience that you will never forget in a unique and enchanting place, home to over 40 species of epiphytic orchids (including the infamous Ghost Orchid).
Day 7 — This is our last morning of our Everglades Adventure. Breakfast is the last meal included. Lunch that day is on your own. This would be a great opportunity to hike or explore this sleepy little fishing village. Then it’s time to say goodbye to this remarkable wilderness. Our guides will transport those flying home to the Fort Myers airport. Plan your flights out after 4:00pm.
We will make every reasonable effort to meet the goals outlined in the itinerary. Please keep in mind that weather or other conditions beyond our control may cause us to modify the itinerary in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the group.
We will be staying at the Ivy House in Everglades City.
TRIP PRICEINCLUDES: 6 nights lodging, 6 breakfast, 5 lunches and 6dinners. Choice of either canoe or kayak . Daily maid service at the lodge . All ground transportation (to and from the Fort Myers airport.), along with transportation during the trip. Van support transporting kayaks, kayaking gear, and riverside lunches. Kayaks ( 12 foot plastic Neckys) , paddles, and PFDs two local guides/naturalists, gratuities for guides and maids. Canoes either solo or tandems can be provided instead of kayaks if requested.
TRIPPRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE: Airfare / transportation to the Fort Myers airport, meals, lodging and transportation before and after the trip dates, lunch on day 1, lunch on day 7, personal items, such as bug dope, sunscreen, drybags / daypacks , raingear, and footwear. Trip insurance is not included in the trip price and is very strongly recommended.
Participants must have prior flatwater paddling experience and know paddling fundamentals. You must be comfortable sitting in a kayak for anywhere from 2-4 hours at a given time. We will be on the water for 7 hours each day, but will take breaks. Be aware that biting insects, alligators and venomous snakes all make this area home. Heavy rains could change the conditions/character of the river(s). This includes fast moving water, blow downs and strainers. Since this is Florida, late afternoon rains and thunderstorms are always a possibility. Should you dump, you must be a competent swimmer and comfortable floating in your PFD until someone can assist you. If there is any question regarding river safety, I will after consultation with our guide(s) make the appropriate determination. If I determine that conditions are not safe, we will decide on an alternate activity, such as a hike or visit to a local state park or similar. This could cause you to incur a cost not covered by the trip price.