The first leg of our journey was spent lazily paddling down the Suwannee Canal. We enjoyed the beautiful weather (highs in the 70s) and listened for Sandhill Cranes. Last year's paddle concluded with over 300 alligator sightings but this year the water level was high and there wasn't enough room on the bank for them to bask. We only saw 5 alligators before we reached our campsite.
Half way to Canal Run Shelter there is a picnic area called Coffee Bay Shelter. This is a chance to stretch our legs, use the bathroom, and eat some lunch. Due to the wildfires last year, our bathroom was melted in a big lump (seen below). The trees were scorched but the prairie behind the shelter looked pretty healthy. Though fires can be dangerous to our personal homes, they really are beneficial to cleaning up the old growth of the swamp.
Preparing to leave Coffee Bay Shelter we were all smiles.
Once at our campsite we picked a spot for our tent, did a little cane pole fishing with Vienna Sausages, and relaxed to the sounds of owls calling and birds flying by. The swamp is so peaceful in the evening and the afternoon sun lights up the golden cypress trees.
We ate a delicious meal of sweet potatoes, squash, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, and cheese heated over the embers of our campfire. There was beer and wine and of course, wonderful conversation. After a day of paddling, we retired to our sleeping bags and slept in anticipation of another day on the water.