Everglades Exploration Network

I had been wondering if it was possible to go from Pahayokee Overlook to the airboat trail in Shark River Slough. The hope was to be able to do a one day slough trip exiting at Payhaokee; thus avoiding an overnight at Cane Patch this time of year and a 30 mile paddle home.The water is up, partially on the road to Pahayokee.
I set out yesterday on a general course of 300 hoping to intersect the airboat trail just above the beginning of Rookery branch. Straight line it is only about 5 miles or so. Plenty of water, 16" at the boardwalk. The paddling started out a little slow with some relief in the clearer areas. It started to deteriorate with more areas of thicker sawgrass. By standing up I could navigate though them; the goal being worth the effort. Well, about halfway, I got totally locked up in tall grass, climbed a tree looking for a clear way, none seen. In this same area I had come accross a tall PVC pipe in a small clearing and thought I might be onto something. Tried every direction and never got more than 100'.
Now, I have located this spot on GE as 25-27'02" / 80-48'51". The tree I climbed is in the little Cypress dome to the left. I looked in the general direction I wished to travel. Blocked from my view is an apparent AIRBOAT TRAIL about 600 ft to the left as seen now on GE. This trail seems to meander in the general directon I wanted to go with a few spots missing and then peters out entirely.
Questions for the audience;
Any info on this trail?
Is this a hopeless mission? ie is the sawgrass just to thick as you approach the slough, making it impassable without a defined trail.
Via GE, it looks a little clearer north of my path, a lot more open spots, twice the distance, but perhaps a viable exit from the slough.
Input?
Terry?

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It doesn't look like there will be much grass paddling this season,

the water is very low for this time of year in the southern end of the park.

Pahayokee Station, NP62, is showing +1.66 for 20Oct14.   It was +1.87

when we pushed Pahayokee last season on 23Nov13 and it was

over +2.4 for 8-11Oct13.   Mahogany Hammock paddling may be over

before the season gets going, Ficus Pond Station, P38, is showing

+.48 on 20Oct14 already below the +.5 threshold.   Taylor Slough,

Craigheads Pond and Nine Mile Pond are all down for this time of year.

Unless we get tropical storm type rains it's looking like we'll be doing

a lot of frontcountry saltwater paddling this season.


shawn beightol said:

I'm in.

C'est la vie .. the backcountry saltwater paddling is flooded out. Narrowly escaped floating in tent on Lil Rabbit Key a few days ago, other places looked even more wet!

Otoh, very few bugs!

Payhokee to Canepatch 2020. Can we make the run in December or early January? 

I'm interested.  What type vessel? Kayak, 2 man canoe?

Went all the way back to 2010....

never been this high!

I can’t escape, but somebody should give it a run!

Amazon Bill said:

Shawn, Looking like this Sunday 12/13 is shaping up. no other details yet, but we usually launch at 7 am. I'm taking a canoe, others in kayaks, so bring what works. Being able to stand in your boat is a major plus to get better visibility over the grass, to pick the path of least resistance. Lots of grass, no marked trails, no airboat trails to follow. Goal is round-trip from Payhokee to MainStreet; map best routes, then come back to trip to CanePatch from Payhokee.

shawn beightol said:

I'm interested.  What type vessel? Kayak, 2 man canoe?

I picked/plotted a route from Payhokee to MainSt in purple below, then overlaid Terry's 2013 image. Amazingly they match almost perfectly. This route that Terry and Flex verified (yellow) has the least "grass resistance" so its a good candidate for GladesGoDeepers on Sunday, plus any other routes we see if we have time.

The photo with Yellow/Blue tracks that was overlaid on my purple track came from Terry's post on:

 Saturday 23 November 2013, 08:00 - 16:00
 Pahayokee Station, NP62, 252622080470201: 23Nov13 +1.87
 Terry, Sue, Dan, Mark, Chris, Flex

The road to Pahayokee has been closed due to the high water, it's +3ft from the last attempt in 2013.

The only reason we didn't connect back then was that we ran out of daylight. Progress was slow due to lack of water.

That won't be a problem this time, but may still be slow going due to vegetation obstacles.

We might have to launch elsewhere but may also be able to just free range with the water being so high.

I paddled among the dwarf cypress forest a couple of weeks ago and it was deep. Paddled inside a cypress dome that was really deep but tough to navigate ..

I also paddled on the east side of the Park road across from Mahogany Hammock among the pine trees.

Also high, but not nearly as much as the (western) slough side.

I waited a week because I figured we'd get a REAL trip report from Flex, but I guess his technical difficulties are still slowing him down.

Last Sunday, not yesterday, but a week ago yesterday, it got done did!

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and her esteemed first paddler, Dr. Robert Cava, Amazon Bill and his son, my daughter and yours truly and of course the aforementioned Flex, who pushed to get the crew on the water made it from a flooded Pahayokee to the intersection with Main Street.

But we couldn't have done it without the cooperation of mom and dad...

Mom being mother nature who blessed us with the deepest slough in the past ten years, and Dad being Terry Helmers who was not able to join because of daddy duties but whose proposed track was largely followed and made the trip possible. Even with the super high water, a straight shot was not viable. We had to pick our way carefully, to avoid the tall thick grass, and Terry's aerial scouting made it viable. My hands are finally healing over from the grass cuts.

I am sure that soon Flex will be putting out the details, so I won't go too deep, suffice to say, it really was a spectacular day. Terry would have been proud, Sunrise to sunset,  yards and yards of hard paddling...cranking through grass and miles and miles of just enjoying the cruise in the open slots. Round Trip it was just over 13 miles, not a long paddle, but still a long day with over 9 hours on the water.

That said, this is not a route, it was a once in a lifetime trip because the weather permitted. Maybe on some fluke high water event it can be done again, but even with a foot less water, it would have been a grueling slog through some stretches. Don't use it to plan an alternative entrance or exit from Main street. But as it was, when it was, it was a beautiful day in the resource!

The water is coming down fast! Enjoy it while you can!

Nice work!  Looking forward to boom based photos...



yakmaster said:

I waited a week because I figured we'd get a REAL trip report from Flex, but I guess his technical difficulties are still slowing him down.

Last Sunday, not yesterday, but a week ago yesterday, it got done did!

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and her esteemed first paddler, Dr. Robert Cava, Amazon Bill and his son, my daughter and yours truly and of course the aforementioned Flex, who pushed to get the crew on the water made it from a flooded Pahayokee to the intersection with Main Street.

But we couldn't have done it without the cooperation of mom and dad...

Mom being mother nature who blessed us with the deepest slough in the past ten years, and Dad being Terry Helmers who was not able to join because of daddy duties but whose proposed track was largely followed and made the trip possible. Even with the super high water, a straight shot was not viable. We had to pick our way carefully, to avoid the tall thick grass, and Terry's aerial scouting made it viable. My hands are finally healing over from the grass cuts.

I am sure that soon Flex will be putting out the details, so I won't go too deep, suffice to say, it really was a spectacular day. Terry would have been proud, Sunrise to sunset,  yards and yards of hard paddling...cranking through grass and miles and miles of just enjoying the cruise in the open slots. Round Trip it was just over 13 miles, not a long paddle, but still a long day with over 9 hours on the water.

That said, this is not a route, it was a once in a lifetime trip because the weather permitted. Maybe on some fluke high water event it can be done again, but even with a foot less water, it would have been a grueling slog through some stretches. Don't use it to plan an alternative entrance or exit from Main street. But as it was, when it was, it was a beautiful day in the resource!

The water is coming down fast! Enjoy it while you can!

Me too!

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