I planned a 6 day paddling trip with 2 friends for Jan. The plan was to start at Long Key, leave my truck there and paddle to Key West, camping en route at Curry Hammock, Molasses Key, Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, Tarpon Belly Key, Marvin Key and last day to Boyds in Key West. Months ago the rangers at Curry Hammock said they have a site that they keep for thru paddlers and to call a couple of weeks before so they would know you are coming. Well I did that yesterday and was told by a fairly surly ranger that the site is now being used for temporary restrooms while the main building is undergoing renovations. They would not let me park there for 5 or 6 days either. Luckily, other than Boyds I only have 1 reservation which is for Big Pine Key Lodge and I can change that if needed.
So my questions are,
1. Does anyone know if it is still possible to camp on Toms Harbor Key (the Keys Paddling Atlas says it is but is a few years old by now and may be out of date)
2. Does anyone know of a safe place to park my truck for 5 or 6 days and launch from on Marathon, preferably middle or towards the western end and I will make Molasses Key my first stop.
I plan on using the extra day to camp a second night on Marvin Key and explore that area, looks awesome out there.
Thanks for any advice
Super trip Dave!
Safe and "inexpensive" multi-day overnight parking is def one of the logistical challenges of Keys adventuring!
I'm not sure if Long Key St Pk would let you park there for a week. Probably a private location like Knight's Key Campground would be a great choice if you can arrange it. I'm sure you can find some campground willing to work with you just for parking.
If you're gonna be around the Marvin Key area, check out the sandbar - it may or may not still be there:
Long Key was the original start point and they will let you park there for $5 per night. Unfortunately due to time constraints I have to start in Marathon. Still using Google Earth to search out possible locations. I will give Knights Key a call though just in case.