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Panhandle River Roamin' #85-93

Three boat launches was the goal for our travel day in between Airbnb rentals during our winter trip to the Panhandle of Florida. We ended up going to five instead trying to find ones that we were confident about. First, the East Bay River in Nevarre for river #85. It was an older ramp, equipped with young kids fishing and unable to move their lines out of the water; yet once in the river with a sandwich in hand, it was peaceful not at all overbuilt. Though the houses we did see were unique and well lived in, though our favorite was the shack who had a giant teddy bear fishing off his dock.

Next, we headed back north a bit to find a boat ramp off the Yellow River. Once we arrived, it was not usable due to storm damage. We continued and toured the historic towns of Milton and Bagdad a bit in search of another ramp, Oyster Pointe. That too seemed too challenging with years of misuse and no maintenance. Finally, the Russell Harber Landing did the trick and we entered into the Blackwater Heritage Trail with ease. The Blackwater River, #86, was rich in history, having served as an important thoroughfare for the old towns that surrounded its banks. It even had a train bridge that sat in the deep river water that would rotate and connect to the land crossings when needed. We continued south, wrapped in blankets, to the Yellow River for #87. Located off the Blackwater Bay, it was quite shallow and so we did an about face to load up the boat and head towards our next Airbnb in the town of Avalon.

The Archie Glover ramp was part of the neighborhood for our next stay, it was a nice one and close to our destination via the water. In fact, once we got to the house’s dock, dad and Seger arrived at the same time and we were able to off load everything in mere minutes. That night, we went to Food & Fire for a dinner to-go of Mediterranean fare consisting of shish kebobs, gyros, and chicken tenders.

Next day, we all were excited to sleep in as we knew we had two full days of river roaming to do from this location. At noon, we finally left the dock and headed towards the Escambia Bay only to find it was too shallow to cross. So, we spent our time on the island nearby and then regrouped. Brought the boat back out of the water and planned to trailer it to the boat ramps needed the next day to complete our mission for this area of rivers. With a dinner of duck three ways and other fun Asian cuisine like stir fried noodles and dumplings, we hunkered down for the afternoon and night with a nice fire. The neighbors came by for a chat and we learned of the area’s vast farmland and maritime influences for the region; we adore meeting new people during these trips.

Next day, we went to John’s Fish Camp and paid $5 for the use of that boat ramp into the Simpson River followed by the Bananahassee for rivers 88 and 89. We tried to wrap around the bay from the north to get to the west, it was too shallow again even with proper weight distribution on the boat. So, we pulled the boat out and headed to another and by far the best ramp of the bunch next to the DeLuna’s Hideout Oyster Bar. Cannot get a bushel of oysters from here, though they do make some great French fries and will deliver them to your boat if you call in an order.

Once in the water, we hit the Escambia River and could see how vast it was with a refinery on its western bank. We veered slightly to the east and fell in love with true “river roaming” we experienced up the White River. There were no homes or businesses, just nature with color changing leaves and trees not found in south Florida. Next, we hit the Little White River followed by the Little Simpson Rivers ending our 2023 journey with a total of 93 rivers complete: what joy!

That night, after some pizza and pre-packing, we got up early and loaded the boat up for our ten-hour journey home. It was a great experience with lots of memories made. Happy river roamin’ everyone!


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