Perhaps the most breathtaking of the Apalachicola River tributaries is Devon Creek, especially when the water is high enough to venture in with a kayak or canoe. Just off Owl Creek-the entrance nearly obscured by branches-the waterway is completely canopied by cypress and tupelo gum branches. In spring, a season when water levels are usually high enough, the bright green sprouting leaves make for a spectacular contrast to the grays and browns of the curving tree trunks.
I first found Devon Creek by accident more than thirty years ago on a canoe trip down Owl Creek with my mother and a friend. Once we entered the leafy corridor, we were entranced. We spoke in hushed tones as if loud voices would break the magical spell. Occasionally, we pointed out cypress knees and roots that had made artistic shapes. Finally, as light faded and the creek narrowed, we reluctantly turned around, vowing to return one day.
On a 2011 visit, a friend and I found a twisted cypress tree that I called cypress angel because there was a visible face and two sections of trunk that resembled wings. Perhaps this "angel" watches out for this special place deep in the Apalachicola floodplain, reminding all who pass that nature is full of mystery and beauty.
The easiest way to reach Devon Creek is to launch at the Hickory Landing Campground (part of the Apalachicola National Forest) on Owl Creek. Paddle downstream towards the Apalachicola River about a half mile and look for the Devon Creek opening on the left. GPS coordinates for the opening in decimal-degrees is N29.9799 W85.0186.
If you want to explore the Apalachicola River and its tributaries, check out the paddling trips offered by the Apalachicola Riverkeeper on the fourth Saturdays of the month, and on occasion trips are offered other days of the week as well. For more information visit the Riverkeeper website and click on the Events section: http://www.apalachicolariverkeeper.org/home0.aspx.