This was where we were supposed to have camped the first night, but as you can see the sandbar is completely underwater due to the frequent rains the region experienced through September. I had really hoped to camp here, to get a closer look at the formations. I have only seen the Bluff from the ridge, when I hiked the Bluffs and Ravines trail. According to Riverkeeper Dan, Alum Bluff has fallen down a bit. That is the nature of this riparian landscape. The geology is not very stable and it is always shifting.
There was lots of Pine Barren Golden Rod and ivy along the banks of this section of the river. The created an impenetrable screen which mademe feel completely removed from the rest of the world. It was delightful to look at the lush vegetation and listen to the sounds of the birds, insects and other creatures that made this their home when I took the time to stop paddling.
Gary Parish grew up in Blountstown and crossed over this bridge many times. He had never seen it from the water though, and was very excited to paddle under it for the first time. The strange triangular forms along the banks in the distance were put there to force the river into the central channel. Although that does make it easier for boats to traverse the river, especially when the water is low, it also stops the water from naturally going seeping outwards through the floodplain.
Neal Lumber and Manufacturing Company transported lumber along the Apalachicola River and was an important supplier of veneer, sawed pine and hardwood until it discontinued operations in the late 1960s. Now it is a rusted relic of days gone by.
There were many beautiful sandbars to stop and swim at along the river, which was a good thing because we no longer had any cloud cover at all and the temperature was pretty hot. Again, I was grateful that this river is still so clean and that it was possible for us to swim without worry.
This house had a giant American Flag painted on it, even though parts of the home was crumbling. Clearly this did not stop the owners from having pride in their country. There are many veterans living in the Apalchicola river basin and residents here seem more patriotic than in other parts of the country I've traveled to.
This was perhaps my favorite image of the day. As we were approaching our campsite on the High Sandbar a mile past the Estiffanulga County Park where the Apalachicola connects with Iamonia Lake, the light began to glow. We passed by this sand cliff and the sun turned it red and cast beautiful reflections in the water.
After we set up our campsites, we rode the support boat back to Estiffanulga Park. Uptown Cafe provided us with a delicious dinner of chicken, salad, chips, etc., and then we were treated to ta talk by Dr. Todd Engstrom on rare birds that make their home here.
I awoke to the mist rising of the river as the sun began to rise. There weren't any clouds in this direction, so I knew it would be another hot day.
Riverkeeper Dan on his way back to pick up our oversize bags. He was such a wonderful support person, never rushing us and always ready to help. Frequently, he would have to drive the boat and stop somewhere for an hour to make a call and then he would reappear. It was always reassuring to see him motoring by.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the trip was sitting with my coffee in the morning just before the river came alive. (Thank you Jim for all the pots you brewed for me.) It was still and peaceful and made me appreciate how important it is to suspend the cares of daily life and fully immerse myself in the moment. These coffee rituals seemed suspended in time, and I felt connected to eternity in those moments. Perhaps that is why I always seemed to be the last one on the river each morning. I had a hard time tearing myself away from such peace and tranquility.