Sunday, March 29, 2020

Manatee Paddle - Jiggs Landing and the Braden River Trail, Bradenton, Florida




Until today, I had not paddled on the Braden River, a 21-mile waterway that drains an 83-square-mile area watershed in west-central Florida and is the largest tributary of the ManateeRiver. I found the Paddle Manatee: A Guide to Area Canoe and Kayak Trails (see REFERENCES below), an excellent resource to locate maps and places to go in my area. Much of the text in this post is from this Guide.

Kayaking from Jiggs Landing was a new kind of experience for OutdoorSteve, Cathy, and Martha because of Jiggs Landing’s unique accessible canoe/kayak launch.  I learned of this canoe/kayak launch when Cathy and he scouted the location and saw first hand how kayakers and canoers launched from a platform docked on the shore of the Braden River. The launch gives paddlers access to the entire Braden River and its freshwater system. It is accessible for handicappers.



Frankly, I was thrilled as I experienced first hand positioning my kayak on the ramp, and with the ramp’s distinctive design using side rails, bottom rollers, and sloped platform, I slide safely into the water.  Further, my take-out was from the same ramp.  Wow! 
The Braden River Trail is approximately 6 miles in total length. See the dotted BLUE lines of the map to reference this waterway trail. Public launch sites include Jiggs Landing, from which we put-in for our 3 ½ hour paddle. 

Our entry at Jiggs landing and take-out was part of this trail. Our paddle was limited to a five-mile loop upstream meandering through many side coves and marshes, as seen in RED in the below map. 

Manatees are present in the river almost year-round and may be found anywhere in the tidal river. We did not experience manatees on this trip, nor did we see alligators. However, beautiful birds and their songs, and their rookeries, were all along our paddle. In addition, varieties of beautiful flowers, mangroves, live oaks, and other various trees unique to this area were omnipresent.

The section from Jiggs Landing south upriver provides a peaceful, winding canoe experience. You can paddle from Jiggs Landing to the Linger Lodge (restaurant) and enjoy this eclectic local experience. We had dined at Linger Lodge before, and I encourage visiting it. However, our paddle upstream today did not reach Linger Lodge.

We certainly did not see all that the Jiggs Landing put-in has to offer.  We definitely will return to Jiggs Landing and:

  1.  Paddle downstream to Evers Dam
  2.  Paddle further upstream to Linger lodge for lunch/dinner
  3.  Look at our map and make sure we finish paddling all six-miles of Braden River Trail. 

DIRECTIONS
Jiggs Landing is a 4 ½ acre site with excellent parking for cars and trailers and a kayaking/canoe washing area. Also a small restaurant with outside musicians playing. Jiggs Landing is located at 6106 63rd Street East, Bradenton, Florida. From Sarasota take I-75 north to Exit 217 (SR 70). Go west on SR 70 to Braden River Road (63rd Street East). Turn left (south) onto 63rd Street East. Jiggs Landing is .4 miles, just before the road turns east onto Linger Lodge Road East.

MORE DETAIL
For more pictures, videos and narrative on our Jiggs Landing paddle, Click here for a 12-minute video.

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" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
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Steve's 6th book is now available. Outdoor Play "Fun 4 Seniors" Volume III has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Manatee Paddle - Picnic Island


Dundee, Mike, and I put-in at Picnic Island, Ellenton, Florida, and headed upstream. We snaked along the shoreline and explored its  mangrove trail waterways. The paddle started as a relaxed afternoon kayaking on the Manatee River and would finish as a test of our stamina. 

The below video misses much of this 2-mile round trip section of the river, as it became difficult for me to take pictures and paddle.  First we searched a mangrove tunnel with an entrance and no exit. Second, We cross in a wide section of the river in a high wind. Third, we finished our return paddle to Picnic Island, facing strong winds and white cap waves.

As you will hear in the video, Dundee and I took a shoreline route in the mangroves. Videoing this mangrove tunnel was not possible due to the confines of the mangroves as well as discovering the mangrove water trail was a dead-end. We needed to back up our kayaks to exit the tunnel.

Given no traffic on the river, we decided to cross the river to get another view of the river’s habitat. We did this in against a strong incoming tide and wind It turned out what I thought was “the other shore” was a narrow mangrove forest called Marsh Island. I learned we were looking at a long narrow island as we went through a water trail through in the island and saw “the other side of the river.” You will see Marsh Island in the below map showing our paddling route in Red.  


Our paddle to return to Picnic Island turned into a 15-minute power sprint into strong winds, against an upriver tide, and white caps.

Enjoy our afternoon paddle. 



More OutdoorSteve.com Adventures

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
++++++++++++++++
Steve's 6th book is now available. Outdoor Play: Fun 4 Seniors has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.



Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Manatee Paddle - Robinson Preserve


Cathy, Michael, Martha and Steve paddle nearly four hours in Robinson Preserve, Manatee County, Bradenton, Florida.

Robinson Preserve is a 620 preserve with 40 acres of peaceful mangrove-lined waterways and mangrove water tunnel passages for canoeing and kayaking.  Manatee County acquired the Preserve in 2005.  It offers well-maintained put-ins and take-outs with restrooms, picnic shelters, kayak and canoe wash stations with hoses, and a 40-foot observation tower with 360-degree views of the Preserve.  Martha and Michael had paddled this area before and were our navigators and tour guides.

Enjoy the  below 5-minute video of our kayaking in Robinson Preserve.


The Robinson Preserve fits perfectly with my Manatee Paddle theme as it borders the mouth of the Manatee River directly across from Emerson Point, which we had paddled a few weeks earlier.  Also, this Preserve opens to Tampa Bay and Anna Maria Island.


You will see mangroves trees throughout our paddle. Mangroves thrive in conditions most timber could never tolerate — salty, coastal waters, and the eternal ebb and flow of the tide. This environment defines the Robinson Preserve.

To see a Bedford Community Television (BCTV) twenty minute production of this same paddle, go to Manatee Paddle - Robinson Preserve



More OutdoorSteve.com Adventures

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
++++++++++++++++
Steve's 6th book is now available. Outdoor Play: Fun 4 Seniors has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.



Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London.


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Manatee Paddle - Emerson Point and Fort Hamer

The waterways of Manatee County, Florida comprise 75 miles of paddling trails in marine and fresh waters. This post shows four of the waterways I have paddled with friends.

My selection of paddling sites is based on where I live and recommendations of local friends.  I found the Paddle Manatee: A Guide to Area Canoe and kayak Trails (see References below), an excellent resource to locate maps and places to go in my area. 


Paddling in Florida often present pleasant surprises of native marine mammals and reptiles, such as bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and alligators.  Florida also offers unique habitat, such as mangroves as borders for the rivers, keys, and bays. These same mangroves can be pathways of caution as residences for snakes, alligators, fish, and mammals.

Given mangroves ubiquitous in this area, let me share education passages I found in the Paddle Manatee Guide:


"Two forms of coastal wetlands are present in the region: tidal marshes and mangrove forests.  Healthy wetlands, including both freshwater and intertidal habitats, are important to the vitality of area waters because they provide food and shelter for marine life. Wetlands also filter pollutants while intertidal habitats, such as salt marshes and mangroves, help protect shorelines from erosion.

There are three different kinds of mangroves found throughout area waters. Red mangroves are found closest to open water. They have arching prop roots and have seed pods or propagules. Black mangroves are found growing among red mangroves. Black mangroves “sweat” salt from their leaves and send up twiggy projections from their roots embedded in the soil surrounding the tree trunk, called pneumatophores, which provide oxygen to the tree’s roots. White mangroves usually grow above the high tide line. Green buttonwood, although not a true mangrove, grows in the most landward location of the littoral zone, behind the other mangrove species. It generally has small, elongated leaves and bears round “buttons” that turn brown. Try to identify which types of mangroves you encounter on your paddling excursion.

Seagrass meadows characterize most of the shallow waters of the area. The most common species of grass in the area are shoal grass, widgeon grass, turtle grass, and manatee grass. The grass beds provide protective nursery areas for juvenile fish, shrimp and crabs, and provide surface for growth of algae epiphytes which serve as food for fish and crustaceans, as well as manatees."

Key landmarks in the below map are the Manatee River, Tampa Bay, Skyway Bridge, and Terra Ceia. I identified our put-in/takeout locations with oversize black numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. 

Enjoy my videos and narratives:
  1. Emerson Point Preserve put-in
  2. Fort Hamer put-in
  3. Ellenton Manatee River put-in
  4. Manatee River Picnic Island put-in

1. Emerson Point Preserve: Six-mile loop paddle with put-in and take-out at Terra Ceia Kayak Launch on Emerson Point Preserve to Little Bird Key and return.




Today OutdoorSteve and five friends take you on a six-mile loop paddle from the kayak launch ramp in Emerson Point Preserve. We paddle through mangroves, open saltwater bays, and around Little Bird Key and back. We enter Terra Ceia Bay near the mouth of the Manatee River. Our sights are the Skyway of Tampa Bay. We look for manatees, bottlenose dolphins, and jumping fish. One of our group is a fisherman, and although he did not bring in a fish, he had a fight with jumping ladyfish until it escaped his hook.

Enjoy the below video as we paddle from Emerson Point Preserve, Bradenton, Florida.



2. Fort Hamer Put-in on Manatee River
As you will see in the outline in our below Google MapMyRun trail outline in red, Dundee and I meandered our canoe back and forth across the river and had turnarounds in ending bays.



Enjoy our canoe paddle on the Manatee River.



In Native American Legend, the Manatee River, dividing line between the Calusa and Timucuan peoples, was known as the "Singing River" because of the most beautiful and lovely music it mysteriously made on certain moons.

The river's headwaters at 136 feet above sea level is the highest point in Manatee County.  It flows south, then west through Lake Manatee to Tampa Bay, a total of 46 miles.

Fort Hamer, named after a brigadier general of the Florida Volunteers, was built in 1849 on the south shore of the Manatee River across from the present public boat ramp, as one of several fortifications round Tampa Bay. The garrison of 165 men stood down in 1850 when the suspected Seminole uprising never came about.
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A blog post for the Ellenton Manatee River put-in and Manatee River Picnic Island put-in will be in a forthcoming post.

References

1. Paddle Manatee River Guide
2. PDF 3rd Edition: Paddle Manatee
3. www/facebook.com/manatee.natural.resources
4. Manatee Paddle - Robinson Preserve
5. Manatee River- Picnic Island, Ellenton, Fl
6. OutdoorSteve.com Adventures

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
++++++++++++++++
Steve's 6th book is now available. Outdoor Play: Fun 4 Seniors has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.



Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London.