Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Turner River

The Turner River

Two places that I've been hearing about since I arrived in 2009 are the Dry Tortugas and the Turner River. While it's shameful that I still haven't made it to the islands off the coast of Florida, Turner River is a lesser-known, but equally beautiful area in Everglades National Park, just two hours from my doorstep. A group of ten friends got together this weekend to paddle the river on a ten-mile one-way trek out to Chokoloskee. I knew it was going to be a promising trip when a one-eyed, nine-foot alligator was guarding the entrance.

Whitewater rushes out of a mangrove forest along the banks of the Turner River

For the first three miles we floated through freshwater mangrove tunnels. Our paddles were nearly useless so we grabbed the limbs like monkey bars and swung our way until reaching open water. To my amazement, we came upon a ripping tributary that was gushing whitewater over a mangrove bank. I have never seen whitewater in the Everglades, frankly because there just isn't enough relief to create riffles. I didn't have enough time to go find the source, but it's very possible it was spring-fed.

Garl Harrold and Linda Lorenz happy to arrive at Chokoloskee

After four hours on the water, we made it to Chokoloskee, just barely out-running a storm as the sun was setting. I'd love to go back to explore those mangrove tunnels a little more with my camera. There are certainly more photos to be had in such a primeval place. Until then, I'll just enjoy having spent a wonderful afternoon with my friends in another one of Florida's hidden gems.

Audubon Aventure Sunday crew


  1. As a child I visited Chokoloskee-- my father would bring the family on day trips in South Florida. I have in my minds eye a photograph of the general Store it was a rickety old building circa 1910 or so. I think these expeditions were recon for a retirement locale. Is it a haven for fishermen retirees condos RV rendezvous -- is there any history left in Chokoloskee?? also have I missed your post with the low down on a kayak--top ten things to look for --seat comfort back support stability is sitting in one on the ground going to tell me anything

  2. You know, that's a great idea. I wish I had some solid advice for you, but I just really haven't been in a kayak that I think has been perfect yet. I'm still waiting for someone to design one made for photographers. I do enjoy the sit on-tops but if you're going a long distance, a more streamlined fiberglass kayak is better, I think.