Estero River – Florida

Water Clarity – 6

Natural Quality – 7+

Perception – Friday

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The wind was a solid 18 mph from the NE, a cool blast for the (us) Florida crackers – so windy that I wondered if I should even try.  Figuring that the river would provide some escape from the wind I headed for Koresan State Park to stick my finger in the air and make the final decision at water’s edge, I do that alot.

Just before the park I noticed Estero River Outfitters, so I stopped in to ask a few questions.  The folks there (Justin, Kyle) were real helpful even suggesting that I could park my vehicle and put-in there.  I had grown up in this area and as a boy remember crossing the older bridge at this point so many times – it just fit.

It was a perfect place to begin – just under Hwy-41; from there Estero Bay was several miles out through the tannic tea-colored water – if possible (wind/time) I wanted to make the Indian Mound Archaeological site.

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The conditions along the river seemed ideal, with Koresan State Park bordering one side the river the setting had the ‘feel’ of one of the old Tarzan movies.

just paddlin and lookin…

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There were a couple of housing developments along the way before entering the property of Estero Bay Preserve – each one interesting and well maintained in it’s own right, but not exactly why I was here.

In several places the river widened, just to narrow again around the next bend – it was a zig-zag pattern through the mangroves all the way – in the wind, out of the wind – against the wind, with the wind, a day like the Broadkill river in Delaware.

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even the birds were huddled on the leeward side of the mangroves out of the constant gusts.

as I made the bay I looked out among the little islands, and took off to one that stood out about a half-a mile away – to the right on the picture.

Its funny looking at the pictures, the water in the bay seems calm – but it wasn’t, far from it.  I was in the ‘still’ of the mangroves on the leeward side – there were whitecaps in the open, so much so that I figured this island was far enough for the day.  This still left plenty of exploring to do along the mangroves while returning.

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Back into the mangroves at marker 36 I went, with the wind, then against the wind – plus a number of stops along the way to explore the land and shell mounds.

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For the day, I only saw two boats and three other paddlers, slow and peaceful – ez.

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There is a raccoon in this picture looking at you, can you find him?

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Several inlets and canals to explore.

and as the day went on, other paddlers from the Park came out.

the smaller parts of the river were the best.

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Right back to the Hwy 41 bridge, it was a little after three in the afternoon and I had been on the water since 9 am, wasn’t really ready to get out so I paddled ‘up‘ the river a short way.

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to the railroad trestle where I turned traveller around.

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It was a fine way to spend the day, paddling down the river to the bay was scenic with lots of twists and turns and then to return and appreciate the mangroves along the way seemed perfect.  It was windier that it appears, but being in the protection of the river helped to alleviate the effects of the gusts (just paddle through them).  As for wildlife there were numerous kingfishers, herons, raccoons, osprey’s and lots of little creatures that kept these thoughts wandering.

Just a reminder….

that’s paddlin…

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