Paddle Florida: On the Water and Off the Beaten Path

By: Gary McKechnie

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When I was a kid, the more time I could spend outdoors the better I felt. When I wasn’t in school, I was outside. But as happens to most people, responsibilities change as you get older and slowly, nature takes a backseat to routine and you find yourself spending more time inside or at a desk.

That’s why Paddle Florida piques my interest. If your life has found you indoors far too long, their mission is to get you outdoors so you can remember there is, literally, an entirely different world out there. They arrange excursions all over the state (click the links to find the entire calendar) and it’s not online or in a virtual world. It’s the real world and it’s yours.

In fact, just this one paragraph from a note I received from Paddle Florida reminds me of what it was like when I paddled the Wekiva River as a kid. It was written by author Doug Anderson.

“On a crystalline fall day, temperatures rising into the 70s, our Paddle Florida group of 50 was soon floating down a spring-fed, sand-bottomed stream. Sabal palms arched over us.  Purple asters lined the shores and brilliant red leaves of Florida maple reminded us of winter's approach and the fact that other parts of the country were already digging out of snowstorms.  The closest thing to snow we encountered were fluffy white seeds that floated from tall sea myrtle shrubs along the shore.”

If that sounds a world you’d like to re-visit, visit www.paddleflorida.org. On Facebook,  www.facebook.com/paddleflorida.

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