Up Fisheating CreekWith a Paddle

batik-artist-batik painting
Muffy Clark Gill "Railroad bridge over the Creek"
Several weeks of being flat out crazy from work I needed a break. After a bit of hunting for a campsite I secured one at Fisheating Creek Outpost in Palmdale, Florida. The campground had been in my sights for a while and since it was midweek, I booked a spot for two nights. We packed up the Roge Mahal and headed northeast.
 
Our first stop was the Immokalee State Farmers MarketImmokalee gets its name from the Miccosukee Indians which roughly translates to “Your Home”. It is a working class town populated mostly by farmworkers. I love visiting the stands at the market because of the great images of fruits and vegetables in bright colors. (Not to mention how fresh the produce is)!

I procured a half dozen ears of corn for $5 (91cents an ear in Publix and not as fresh) plus some beautiful Roma tomatoes. I love the way some of the produce is displayed– Check out these cabbages!

We headed north again to the city of Labelle. There we made a lunch stop at the Labelle Brewing Company. Even though it was almost two o’clock, the taproom was busy with several large groups having lunch as well. The building is just over two years old and has a contemporary barn like interior with high ceilings.

My husband ordered their house made meatloaf and mashed potatoes and it was huge! We ended up getting two full meals out of it. I had their French Dip sandwich with fried sweet plantains—also very yummy as well.

We arrived at the campground and took a brief siesta before taking a walk around the campground. They offer day use as well as overnight camping. Bikes,canoes, kayaks, and paddle-boards are available for rent. As it was midweek, the campground was quiet. We walked along the creek and admired the flying buttresses of cypress roots from the tress growing at the waters edge

Birds were starting to roost for the evening as we made our way back to the RV. We had a light supper before watching a crazy TV series on Amazon called “The Grand Tour” before retiring.
 
The next morning after making a hearty breakfast we walked over to the campground office and rented a canoe so Mia, our dog could go with us on the creek. The lady who rented us the canoe highly suggested we paddle downstream as the water levels were very low and a massive sandbar blocked most of the upstream route and we would have to portage. We paddled past a couple of other groups and then under a railroad bridge, then under the US 27 highway bridges. Ahead of us was the first of several huge alligators sunning themselves on the shore banks .

The creek widened into a large lake before constricting itself into a very narrow  and shallow passageway. It was beautiful! As we paddled we passed all kinds of birds and turtles sunning themselves on submerged cypress roots as we paddled through a forest made up mostly of cypress and swamp maple trees. The only noise you could hear was the sound of bird calls and a faint roar of traffic in the distance. It was one of the prettiest creeks I had ever paddled!

We paddled for almost an hour and turned around when the creek became too shallow to paddle. We headed upstream with only a minor current to hold us back, paddling past the campground to see the large sandbar. A flock of Turkey Vultures mixed with Black Vultures were gathered on the sandbar. We followed a Woodstork and watched him feeding along the creek bank. He was impressive as he repeatedly flapped his wings to stir up the fish.

I made a short video of our cruise. You can watch it here:
 
We returned to the canoe launch and had a lazy lunch of leftovers. Later on we took a hike on the Knobby Knee Boardwalk and loop trail in the wildlife management area. The boardwalk was new and wandered among hundreds of cypress roots or knees, then running across a field of dried hay before  reaching the creek. I loved this image of the rope swing
 

The trail twisted around for over a mile before returning to the campground. We had another relaxing evening before packing up early the next morning to attend our next event. More to come in my next newsletter!

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