Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lake Hell-N-Blazes

Jim and Gus checked in by phone at 6PM today, after crossing Lake Hell-N-Blazes and arriving at the Sawgrass Shelter.  They had made good 12 miles, with Jim ready to quickly crawl into a shelter at 6 because of the hordes of hungry mosquitoes. Lake Hell-N-Blazes, so called because many people wonder while out on it where in the hell and blazes they are (and maybe why?).  It's definitely airboat country, and Jim got pictures of a couple of them today.  One was going over a dike or weir.  The shelter where Jim and Gus set up their tents was built by the St. Johns River Water Management.  It has been well used by intermittent duck and geese flocks, with big accumulations of guana.  Jim said it would definitely NOT qualify for a Good Housekeeping seal of approval!    The site is actually an old Indian midden, composed of over 6,000 years of trash and some graves left by Ais and Timucuan Indians.  Early settlers in the area used to find bones, pottery shells and other detritus, but digging there is illegal now.  The guys are resting on hallowed ground!  Hope they rest well.  They'll have a long day tomorrow, with another portage ahead of them, which requires unloading the vessels, dragging the boats up and over the weir or dike, carrying all their supplies over the top, and then refloating and reloading the boats.  They have a 17-mile paddle to the next stop-over point at Oak Tree Camp.  It's going to be a long day, especially for Jim, who hasn't done much paddling during the past months because of the drought in our home country of Oklahoma.  I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that we had passed to the south of the little village of Fellsmere on our way out to Middleton's Fish Camp.  Fellsmere is known locally for the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival.  Will have to check that out later.  Bye for now,  and happy paddling.   :>)Jean

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