(Keywords: Paddling - Florida)
'Gators, Vultures and Fossils
Escape the tee-shirt shacks and snow cone vendors of Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach to explore the sandy banks of the Peace River. You will be rewarded by tranquility - a nice way to spend an afternoon, gliding by live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, spotting large wading birds feasting on spawning fish and vultures pecking at the carcass of... OK nevermind that.
Peace River access points are easy find, just follow the path of destruction left by Hurricane Charley, along US 17 from Port Charlotte to Arcadia. Upstream of Highway 70 there are about a dozen access points along 67 miles of water trail.
Regardless of where you put-in, it's all flatwater; an easy drift downstream. Or do like we did and paddle upstream to you run out of enthusiam, then float back.
There's a long stretch between Zolfo Spring and Gardner. So you should take along a good map of the area to help chart your progress. Better yet, take along this GPS map data download to your receiver, because the river is joined by numerous small streams that are difficult to identify when the water is low.
- Download the free GPS Map in GPS eXchange (.gpx) file format, which can be read and transferred to your GPS using free GPS software. (The .gpx file will appear in a new window where you can File > Save as... on your computer)
GPS Map Details
File Name: river.gpx (13KB)
Revised: 26 April 2006
Data Classification: Most of the waypoints are Class B1 data, pulled from aerial photographs. The track is Class A1 data acquired during our little adventure upstream from Canoe Outpost.
I hear that the fossil hunting is pretty good.... I wouldn't know because we saw several 'gators sunning themselves on the banks and I wanted to keep my appendages in the boat. It was not so bad seeing the alligators on the banks of the river, what disturbed me was that I could not tell where they went after the slid into the murky water(!).
Zolofo Springs (Waypoint# PCE200) to Gardner (Waypoint# PCE430) - Full day.
Gardner (Waypoint# PCE430) to Arcadia (Waypoint# PCE670)- Full day.
Combine 1. and 2. with camping overnight on west bank near Gardner.
Brownville (Waypoint# PCE490) to Arcadia (Waypoint# PCE670) - Half-day run.
Fossil Hunt - Paddle upriver from Gardner to where Charlie Apopka Creek joins the Peace River (Waypoint# PCE428), look for fossils, spending as long as you want, then drift back.