Canoeing the Suwannee River
Today, we will go on a 3-to-4-hour canoe trip. In White Springs, there is American Canoe Adventures, and we are renting a canoe to paddle the river.
The trip starts at the Suwannee River Wayside Park at the Highway 41 bridge and ends at a pickup point 7 miles downstream.
Right after we start to paddle away from the shore, we spook a 5-foot alligator sunning itself, and it swims downstream ahead of us for quite a while.
The gator finally decides to dive to the bottom and let us pass. The river is pretty.
Next was the river side of the White Springs ruins. The water comes from one spring. Wow! More on this later.
More pretty views while canoeing.
This is a black water river. That means that the amount of tannin leached into the river is enough to make the water tea to black in color. Tannin comes from decaying vegetation in swamps.
We ended the trip, and our ride was waiting for us.
On our way back to the campground, we stopped off at the springs which was touted as Florida’s Original Tourist Destination with magic waters. In 1835, Mr. Sheffield purchased land along the river and found he had a strong spring. His health improved after swimming in the spring multiple times so from this he decided it had healing affects. He built a hotel and bathhouse around the spring. It looked very different at that time.
The spring had been used by native tribes for 100’s of years to heal the sick.
Early advertisements claimed the water cured rheumatism, indigestion, dandruff, insomnia, pretty much anything they could come up with.
By the end of the 1800’s there were 14 luxury hotels in the newly developing town. In 1908, the original bathhouse was replaced with the large concrete structure which had 4 flours of patio that overlooked the spring. The springs fell out of favor in 1950s and closed. Some of the spring’s famous visitors included Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Ford.
Today only the top level remains.
You can still see the natural source of the spring
The outflow into the river is intense. A system of mechanical gates were dropped in the openings to keep the water deep in the structure and prevent river water from flowing in when the river was a high levels.
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