April 11, 2009

Hell's Bay Canoe Trail

After spending a week on the Wilderness Waterway in the Everglades, we were eager to show our friends Dave and Phil a bit of route we'd taken. We canoes in tow, we headed to the put in on the side of the road.

There are a few reasons why this is called the Hell's Bay trail. For one, there are more twist and turns than you can count. The narrow trail winds through a mosquitoey, shallow mangrove swamp. If it weren't for the marked PVC posts at every turn, you could get lost in here very easily!
Since Philip and I were in solo (thus shorter) canoes, we had less trouble making the sharp turns. Sam and Dave had more trouble with their longer canoe.

We took a few breaks to explore some islands. We were headed towards a campsite on a heavily wooded island called the Lard Can. It is an old spot that humans have inhabited since the Calusa Indians did hundreds of years ago. In the pre national park days, gladesmen would set up hunting and fishing camps here. They would store their supplies in big lard containers made of tin which kept their provisions dry. Now all visitors to the muddy piece of land see is usually lost of mosquitoes. We hoped to make it out to one of the chickees in the bay but high winds prevented us from wanting to venture out in the open water with our canoes. We made out way back to the put in. This way we were either fighting the winds or the tide. We never could figure out which one it was. This time Sam and Dave were in the lead since they had double motor power. All we could think of as we loaded up to leave was getting a nice cold drink down the road.

As you can see from Phil's attire, the heat was telling us it was time to start heading north!