Sandy Huff says, "Paddling in [the Myakka River] is not for the faint of heart." Good observation. Lots of alligators, big ones, see the pictures. Also more birds than you can imagine. This section of the river begins by the picnic area near the park entrance, goes under the 72 bridge into the Wildlife Preserve. Incredibly beautiful, wild and peaceful. Eventually the river got narrower, the downed trees became more plentiful and I got pushed too close to the sunnyside bank. I got too far out of my comfort zone and turned around.
The pivotal event was when I had to pass a ten foot gator about four feet from the shore. He was up on a bank facing upstream. Sheesh. I was really very happy when he stayed put and I got back upstream from him. What this paddle missed in strenuous exercise was made up in tension.
PS To appease my children, one of whom was less than kind in his remarks... I'm told that in 34 years in this park there have been only two instances of death by alligator. One, an escaping prisoner jumped into a canal and became dinner for a grateful gator family on welfare. The second happened when an unleashed dog got intimate with a set of jaws. Its owner tried to save the dog, which are considered a delicacy by the gourmet gator, and the alligator had the man's foot for desert. He then bled to death. I like the ones who look well fed as I'm told that they don't eat very often.
See the pictures.
DeLorme Florida : 97 b3
Download POIs for Start and Finish and nearby Campground
Topo or Street Map
Paddler's Guide to the Sunshine State, by Sandy Huff. Pages 393-395. If you found this useful please buy the book.