Paul and I were on the river next to the Newport Campground by 9:30, and continued upstream until a mile or so short of where the river goes underground into the aquifer at a place called The Rise. The round trip was 10.4 miles. We never saw anyone else on the river until on our return, and best of all, the only trash I saw was one plastic water bottle. It’s probably the cleanest, prettiest and most natural river I’ve come across yet. The health of the river was evidenced by thick beds of various grasses, clean sandy bottom, and a lot of fish of all sizes. As a point of reference for those not familiar with it, Newport and Wakulla are due south of Tallahassee, Florida.
Paul in his new angler's edition of the Old Town Pack
Paul’s wife, Margaret, arrived about 2pm, and they introduced us to several local sights, including Wakulla Beach and the town of St. Mark’s. We later had an early dinner at the Riverside Café in St. Mark’s.
Paul and Margaret at the Riverside Cafe, St. Mark's
The evidence of hurricanes along the coast is endless. At Wakulla Beach we saw what was called the Third Wakulla Hotel, where the hurricane of September, 1928, left nothing but a foundation and several concrete columns. Besides historical storms, the Gulf Coast also feels the effects of the gas prices, general economy, and the oil spill as exhibited by mostly empty campgrounds, closed businesses, and the absence of the crowds you’d expect this time of year.
Nothing left of the hotel but foundation and pieces of fluted columns.