Aucilla - since the meaning of this river's Indian name has been lost, I'll venture a guess as to its meaning: Peek-A-Boo River or Now-You-See-Me-Now-You-Don't... you get the drift. The Aucilla River has the unusual feature of disappearing into underground caves again and again during the course of its run. There is a great stretch of the Florida Trail that meanders along the course of the underground sections of the river and its sinkholes or "windows" into it. I recently hiked the Aucilla Sinks Trail with Paul Marcellini. So this month, I'm featuring my photos from this walk, as well as shots I've made of other parts of the Aucilla River on past hikes and paddles.
Tea-colored water typically fills the sinks.
In early December, we were nearly at the peak of our modest fall color.
There are nice paddle runs on long stretches of the river as well. (This shot was made during a severe drought, a rare time when the water was clear.)
Late Light on Half Mile Rise
Water levels vary dramatically. The more typical level is the line on this tree.
Several rocky rapids make paddling exciting at the right water levels. (This is high water just below the main rapids - a long exposure.)
Starting early is always a bonus for me and my work.
Aucilla River Sinks Autumn
Bedrock. A former path of the river, now dry, exposes the underlying karst topography.
Big Sky over Half Mile Rise
Water Colors (An artsy rendition of reflections in a sink.)
Sinks in Autumn
Red-tailed Hawk. On one trip in very low water, Susan Cerulean and I found and rescued this hooked hawk who'd been caught in a trot line.
Merging Waters. The clear-watered Wacissa ultimately drains into the tannic Aucilla. The confluence is a magical place.
The Long Arm of Live Oak.
Our recent hike was blessedly cloudy (for less contrast), but the sun popped out late, back-lighting the fall colors.
Not a lot of wading birds here, but this ibis was happy to pose.
Corkscrew. The tree appears to be screaming from the giant vine's stranglehold.
The End of the River.
Seemed appropriate to end with a shot from the mouth of the Aucilla at the Gulf of Mexico, a place of beauty all its own. Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour, and that the New Year provides you ample opportunities to get out into the wilds.
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