So many choices…
I truly enjoy crossing the wide open waters of our coastal lagoons and estuaries, whether paddling the pre sunrise mirror calm waters or attaching the spray skirt and surfing the wind swells on a blustery (Florida) winter day.
Cypress swamp of Taylor Creek
Then there are the other days, silently paddling into the marshes seeking our seasonal visitors; spooky juvenile Tarpon or getting the better picture of feeding Wigeon.
Spoonbills of Blackpoint Wildlife Drive
Yet year after year I am drawn back to this flooded Cypress strand.
True the birds are not as plentiful as the salt marshes of Canaveral National Seashore and the fishing; well Mosquito Lagoon did not get its title as “Red fish capital of the world” for simple propaganda.
Reflection, blending of sky and water
Nevertheless, something about the awe-inspiring tall trees and dark water swamp piques my imagination like no other paddle location
What draws me back, I can’t really explain, something primordial perhaps, but when paddling into these silent waters I feel as if I have journeyed into the live set of the Discovery Channel. Any moment I expect to witness a Tyrannosaur ambushing its hapless prey, or imagine dispirited Conquistadors pushing brown water ahead of them, while Ais Indians, bows drawn, shadow the invaders in dugout canoes.
Luckily, (I suppose) only the occasional painted turtle or American Alligator splashes off a fallen tree into the waters. Or the dark eyes of an otter family stare warily at my intrusion.
Another solitary hunter
Year upon year I glimpse one of the reliable inhabitants of this Cypress swamp, the Pileated Woodpecker.
Upon seeing this majestic bird, usually high in the trees, my imagination takes over again and I strain for a better look, a better identification, hoping to see, just maybe, the white wings of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
And as always, the birds light upon the opposite side of a cypress tree or the they flit though the upper branches, just high enough for me not to make a positive identification, feeding my imagination of what if……….. Next time, I know it.
Problem: my already too active imagination.
In the dry Florida winters, I have hiked this location, the creek in this area is fairly small in the winter.
Comes the Florida rainy season, & we have this ….lake? Swamp? Something in-between?
Reproduction of a Seminole War block house at Fort Christmas, Florida
Then there is the fact that only a couple miles upstream is the site of the 1837 Fort McNeil.
Named after 2nd Lt. John Winfield Scott McNeil who was killed in action near Dunlawton, 11 Sep 1837.
Fort McNeil was a Seminole War block house on the north bank of Taylor Creek, constructed in an attempt to defeat in indominable Seminole Indians who despite being starved, out gunned, outmanned 100 to one, they warred against the might of the United States for seven long years.
(The Fort McNeil historic marker was taken down because it was too much of a shooting temptation along the Isolated Nova Road)
Launching a Kayak at Taylor Creek. Two options for this remote creek. First is Nova Road, stop at the first bridge after turning south from Highway 520. (Good Brim fishing in this area)
Second option: is launching into the canal on the south side of Highway 520, west of Lone Cabbage Fish Camp.
Neither launch point is "improved", in fact both are down right 'snakey' scary. Which makes Taylor Creek an isolated pleasure to paddle!
Taylor Creek emptying into Lake Poinsett. Note this stretch is heavily used by air boats showing tourists the real Florida--please be careful if paddling on this stretch of the Creek.
Photo: aerial map at the space Center.
Taylor Creek is the green strip between lakes.
Return Home from Taylor Creek Kayaking
My book on Florida history:
Struggle for the northern frontier and other lost tales of old Florida