Savor the Longer Days

by: Doug Alderson, Outdoor & Nature Expert

Canoeists paddling the Wacissa RiverThe upper Wacissa River was on my radar the other day and I saw three other boats. Three! A kayak and two canoes. That's because I ventured to the headsprings just east of Tallahassee after work during the week, taking advantage of the long days of late summer/early fall. I had almost two hours of blissful, quiet paddling, and I had the 42-foot deep Big Blue, the largest spring along the river, all to myself.

Along the shorelines, the wild rice was tall and in full seed. Cypress needles were showing the first hints of fall. In a couple of months, they will turn a rusty gold.

Birds are almost always abundant on the Wacissa and they did not disappoint. Herons, egrets and ibis were all present along with kingfishers, red-shouldered hawks and calling barred owls. Bullfrogs bellowed, cicadas whirred in the treetops, small alligators cruised through the water weeds, and a brown water snake was wrapped around a cypress root. There was much to see and hear. 

Immature night heron on Wacissa RiverSo, cheat your work week routine. Take advantage of extended daylight hours before winter comes upon us, and explore our local attractions. And if you venture to the wild Wacissa River, you won't be disappointed.

For an online guide and map, click here. Also, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has recently put together a complete guide to the Wacissa, Aucilla and Econfina Rivers for only $5.


Doug Alderson. Outdoor & Nature Expert from Tallahassee, FL Author:

Doug Alderson

Outdoor & Nature Expert


Doug Alderson is the author of several books, including Waters Less Traveled: Exploring Florida's Big Bend Coast (University Press of Florida 2005), The Vision Keepers: Walking for Native Americans and the Earth (Quest Books 2007), New Dawn for the Kissimmee River: Orlando to Okeechobee by Kayak (University Press of Florida, 2009), Encounters with Florida's Endangered Wildlife (University Press of Florida, 2010), and his newest book, Wild Florida Waters: Exploring the Sunshine State by Kayak and Canoe (Earthways Press, 2011). Additionally, his articles and photographs have been featured in magazines such as Sea Kayaker, Coast and Kayak, Wildlife Conservation, American Forests, Sierra, Mother Earth News and Shaman's Drum. He has won several state and national awards for his books and magazine features. Doug also works as the paddling trails coordinator for the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails.

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