Peace River Kayak Camping - Fort Meade to Zolfo Springs and then to Gardner

THIS WILL BE A PRIMITIVE PADDLE AND CAMP.

THERE WILL BE A CHARGE OF $16.50 PER TENT TO CAMP AT PIONEER PARK ON SATURDAY NIGHT

We will need to bring our own food and carry our own gear. We will not have a caterer and outfitter babying up on this trip. 

Bring at least one gallon of water for each day and food for all our own meals.

I will definitely be camping at Fort Meade on Thursday night (same address as above).  I should arrive around 5:00 pm.    We will shuttle our vehicles to Gardner  

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This is the upper section of the Peace River, and is the official start of the river as a "Florida Canoe Trail".  This will be an overnight Kayak camping trip and we will be making camp alongside the river

We will meet at the Fort Meade boat launch.  Take Hwy 17 to Ft Meade and head east on Hwy-98 Look for Recreation Area which is where Hwy 98 and the Peace river intersect.We will be camping all there way in the back. If you are joining us Friday morning follow sign on right and follow road to parking and launch. Warning: GPS may not take you there.  We will offload Kayaks and gear, and then shuttle cars This will be a four day, 46 mile paddle (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) or you can join us ether Saturday morning Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

Four day paddle - Friday thru Monday - We will meet at the putin at the Ft Meade Outdoor Recreation Area at 9:00 to start the shuttle. The shuttle will leave a 9:00 am which means you need to be unloaded and ready by 8:45 am. We will shuttle down to Pioneer Park.

Three day paddle - Saturday thru Monday - You will meet at Paynes Creek east of Bowling Green. The Friday paddlers will meet you guys no later than 10:00 am to paddle down the river.  

Two day paddle - Sunday thru Monday - Meet us a at Pioneer Park on Saturday afternoon. We are going to try and camp there Saturday night by may have to paddle down river to camp if they are full. I will post later about camping arrangements for Saturday night. Leave your cars here and we will shuttle you back to your cars.

 




The upper Peace flows out of Lake Hancock in central Polk County before becoming kayak passable above Fort Meade, the official start of the river as a Florida Canoe Trail. Here the river is around 25 feet wide and meanders south. Many access points allow for trips of varied distances. From Fort Meade, the river enters Hardee County and reaches Paynes Creek State Historic Site after 12 miles. Little Charlie Creek enters the river 4 miles farther, just below the CR 664A bridge. Gentle riffles sliding over a rock bottom occasionally speed up the moderate current. Below Wauchula, the Fazzini Wilderness Environmental Education Center occupies part of the east bank.

The Peace River can be paddled for almost 62 miles from Fort Meade to Arcadia. Below Arcadia the Peace becomes wide and is frequented by motorboats and personal watercraft, losing its appeal to paddlers.Narrow, deep channels with high banks alternate with broad sections and quiet pools as the river passes through dense woodlands. Sand bluffs give way to shoreline flats, thickly carpeted with grasses and enclosed by the surrounding woods, making ideal campsites. The nearby forest abounds with deer and other wildlife, and the observant paddler will see numerous bird species, including herons, egrets, and kingfishers.

The Green Swamp, northeast of Tampa, is the headwaters for four of the finest rivers in the state: the Ocklawaha, Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, and Peace. The Peace River flows for approximately 133 miles from Lake Hancock near Bartow in Polk County to Charlotte Harbor near Punta Gorda. The river basin encompasses 2,400 square miles of primarily agricultural and ranch land, and numerous creeks and streams empty into the river along its entire length. As might be expected, almost 70 percent of the annual flow in the river (on average) occurs from June through October, after the onset of the wet summer weather. Despite the high nutrient levels caused by the discharge from phosphate mines and agriculture, the river retains a fair water quality and indeed supports a fine population of fish. The Peace River is steeped in a rich natural and cultural history. In 1842, by virtue of an agreement between General Worth and the infamous Native American chief Billy Bowlegs, the Peace was established as the boundary between Native territory to the east and land for the white man to the west. During the Seminole Wars, numerous battles occurred along the banks of the Peace. At the confluence of the Peace and Payne Creek, south of Bowling Green, the Seminoles attacked a trading post at the start of the Third Seminole War, and one of the last battles of that war was fought near Fort Meade. 

As with all of our paddles, we are not professional guides nor instructors. We are a group of kayaking enthusiasts out for an enjoyable time. We help each other, learn from each and enjoy the privilege of being out on the water. By participating in any of our paddles, you assume all risks and responsibilities for your personal health and safety and for your equipment. You also agree to the terms of the Waiver of Liability (see "Files" for the Word document) that applies to all SLACKER adventures. It is important for everyone that each participant be prepared for the trip. Please use your discretion and best judgment when joining a trip. Check the weather reports and tide charts and make your own informed decision about the trip.Be sure you are up to the paddle -- physically, mentally and that your equipment is appropriate for the intended trip. Know and respect your limits. Be safe, act responsibly and you will certainly enjoy another fantastic trip.

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  • Laura

    My first time kayak camping! I had a great time, as usual. Slackers are the best - thanks Sam for all you do!!!

    1 · May 27

  • Craig G.

    What a fantastic weekend, and another weekend of life changing first experiences. Where else can you go with good friends and experience such amazing times? Only with our Slacker friends. We have a truly unique group of individuals. Thank you to everyone for the birthday party, and Julie for bringing the cake. that was very special. I wish I was more hungry to eat it. You know, I brought more Jello Shots than food, and lost about 5 lbs. over the weekend. LETS do that again. Julie, Kym and I need to do Ft Meade to the Rock camp ground.

    3 · May 27

    • Lisa H.

      WOW, jello shots will make me lose 5 lbs?!? I'm going to start shooting them every day!!

      2 · May 27

    • Craig G.

      If you lose any weight, we might not be able to see you!!

      1 · May 27

  • Julie N

    Word from the river is "its very buggy out" so bring something to keep them away.

    May 23

    • Mike R

      Summers bug spray is great for your skin....if you also want to keep them from biting you through your shirts, shorts, etc... hit your local Walmart and in the sporting goods section they have insect spray called Sawyer Premium Insect Spray. It's in a black and yellow box... it's NOT for your skin. You spray it on your clothing and gear (tents) and it repels/kills ticks, chiggers, mites and mosquitoes like nothing else I've ever tried. I used this in Minnesota last year on my wild bear photography trip and it saved my life as there were huge clouds of mosquitoes all around us.

      May 23

    • Craig G.

      I'm definitely getting this stuff for clothes and gear. A small can of Perimethion at B J's was almost $10.00 and went fast.

      May 27

  • Ronda G

    I ended up doing the two day trip and glad I faired the heat! Had a great time with great friends!

    May 27

  • A former member
    A former member

    What a perfect weekend!!! Well, all except for the alligator growling incident and the chiggers. Yep, I got chiggers too! :(
    Thanks Sammy for organizing such a spectacular paddle. Thanks everyone for such a fun weekend! See you all again soon :)

    May 27

  • amy

    Fabulous weekend! I couldn't imagine spending it any other way. Great company, great weather, just perfect!

    May 26

  • Jim D.

    Thanks to Sam and all of you crazy SLACKERS for a memorable 4 day weekend...great fun on the river...with the exception of the #*@%>^ CHIGGERS!

    1 · May 26

    • Tracy E.

      I hope your #*@%>^ CHIGGERS issue clears soon! And thanks you again for all your help.

      May 26

    • Tracy E.

      Thanks again for all your help. Lol!

      May 26

  • Pam D.

    I did the 3 day and it was great! A little warm but the river kept us cool.

    1 · May 26

  • Julie

    I can't add pictures yet!!!

    May 25

  • Nona

    Hope we are meeting at state park this morn

    May 24

  • Tracy E.

    Someone needs to make more jello shots. I won't name names. However, no dudes showed up tonight. So it's turned into a les fest. Lol! Not many shots left!

    1 · May 22

    • Jeff R.

      Ok, I decided to meet y'all at Pioneer park to camp and party Saturday. Making jello-shots now. See ya then!

      2 · May 23

    • Nona

      Yay jeff!!

      May 24

  • Julie N

    If I'm up early I will probably head upriver and meet all you who are on the river. Tracy, I am checking your car now.

    May 23

  • Julie N

    Jeeps kreepers. Where is everyone? Guess I'm camping by myself. Hope the boogie man isn't out tonight.

    1 · May 23

  • Julie

    Saturday is $3 at Paynes Creek Historic State Park.

    May 23

  • Jim N

    see u at pioneer park Friday night hopefully

    May 21

    • Julie

      I'll be there too

      May 22

    • Julie N

      Jim, I sent Christina my phone number. I'll text you 2 when I get to the park and let you know what site I'm at. I will try to get a site by the water. I Will be getting there late also.

      May 23

  • Craig G.

    Jello Shots, here we come.

    2 · May 22

  • Joe

    Sam, I want to do the two day paddle Sunday through Monday. What time should i be there at Pioneer Park Sunday Morning.
    Thank You!

    1 · May 22

  • Diane B

    Sam, I am coming for 3 days :-). I hope I can make all three, it will be a record for me.

    May 22

    • amy

      You can do it!

      May 22

  • Sam G.

    Please let me know if you are doing the 4 day, 3 day or even the 2 day paddle.
    Amy, Jenny, Lisa and myself are doing the 4 day. Craig, Donna and Ronda are going on on the 3 day.

    May 14

    • Nona

      I'm doing the 3 day

      May 21

    • Laura

      I'm in for the 4 day paddle. See you Friday morning!

      May 22

  • Charlie H.

    I am planning to arrive Saturday evening for a two day paddle.

    May 21

  • Jenny

    Sorry I can't make it. Work has gotten in the way. Have fun and I look forward to the next adventure.

    May 21

  • Ronda G

    Going to catch this paddle when out is cooler out! Too hot for me! Have fun!

    May 21

  • Davida

    Will do four day. Bit rusty on fort meade outdoor center location Can anyone provide directions? Just the basic idea will help. Are we planning to reserve any camping at Pioneer prior to Saturday? Just wondering. Thanks. David

    May 20

    • Sam G.

      Take Hwy 17 to Ft Meade and head east on Hwy-98 Look for Recreation Area which is where Hwy 98 and the Peace river intersect.

      May 20

    • Sam G.

      No Reserving of camping space at Pioneer Park is needed. It is first come first gets.

      May 20

  • Sam G.

    METEOR SHOWER EARLY SATURDAY MORNING
    When to watch, and who is best placed on Earth. The peak night of the shower is predicted for May 23-24, 2014. Models suggest that the best viewing hours are between 2 and 4 a.m. on Saturday morning May 24.
    Because of the time predicted for the meteor display, observers in southern Canada and the continental U.S. are especially well positioned to see the meteors in the early morning hours of May 24 (or late at night on May 23). Will the predictions hold true? They are not always 100% reliable, which is why, no matter where you are on Earth, this shower is worth a try around the night of May[masked]

    1 · May 20

  • Sam G.

    Because I have had many requests, I have decided to make this a "pet friendly" paddle. As always your pet must be well behaved.

    1 · May 20

  • Tracy E.

    Thank you Sam for putting this trip together. You saved the day. Can't wait!

    May 19

  • Sam G.

    For the people who want to join us Saturday morning please read below where to meet us at 10:00 am

    Access Point 6 Put-in: Paynes Creek Historic State Park (DEP)/ SR 664A Bridge
    Nearest town to put-in: Bowling Green Miles from put-in: 1 mile
    Directions to put-in: Take US 17 to the town of Bowling Green. At the traffic
    light, turn east onto Main Street, following the brown park signs, then turn south
    onto Lake Branch Rd (SR 644A), and follow one mile to the park where there is a
    canoe/kayak launch. There is also access at the SR 664A Bridge 100 yards beyond
    the park entrance (vehicles should be left at the park).
    Access Point
    Any question please contact me.

    May 19

  • Julie N

    mid 90's all weekend, bring lots of water.

    May 19

  • lois v.

    I can't do this float after all, I will be thinking of you and hope the weather holds for a beautiful trip

    May 19

  • lois v.

    I would like to camp at Fort Meade Thursday night and take out at Pioneer Park, if it wouldn't cause a problem with the scheduled shuttle.

    1 · May 19

  • Tracy E.

    4 days! I'm planning on getting there early Thursday. So if anyone wants me to save spots let me know.

    May 14

  • Julie N

    Is it group camping at Pioneer Park or do we have sites?

    May 14

    • Sam G.

      It will be sites / not group - The manager said there are plenty or camp sites available so it will be first come first gets.

      May 14

  • Paula M.

    I am doing 3 days...see you Saturday morning!

    May 14

  • Jim D.

    Sam, I'm doing 4 days. I plan to meet up with you on Friday morning.

    May 14

  • Pam D.

    Hey Sam, I am doing the 3 day paddle and will meet up with you on Saturday morning.

    May 14

  • Darren M.

    Is the boat ramp where we meet Friday morning inside the park?

    May 14

  • amy

    I will be camping Thursday night...woo hoo!

    May 14

  • Jenny

    I am interested in camping Thurs too. Let me know if I need to pay anything now.

    May 14

  • Lisa H.

    I will camp Thurs nite, too, Sam. Do we pay you at the river, or in advance?

    May 14

  • Donna T.

    I would like to do 3 day trip

    May 13

  • Ronda G

    I will be joining you on Saturday morning for the 3 day paddle trip! I can't get away on Friday. :(

    May 13

  • Jeff R.

    Oh, I sooo wish I could go on this one! Water levels being high should make the upper part much more user friendly.

    May 12

    • Tracy E.

      We need Jell-O shots. You better join us.

      1 · May 12

    • Victoria P

      Me too! Unfortunately my weekend to work:(

      May 13

  • Elizabeth P

    Here's hoping you have great water levels on the Peace River. I love the section between Flat Rock and Pioneer Park!

    May 12

  • Craig G.

    If my A.T. buds Darren and Donald are going, I should go too.

    1 · May 12

    • Tracy E.

      Hopefully you'll get off the waiting list!

      1 · May 12

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