September 29, 2012 · 9:30 AM
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FOR EXPERIENCED PADDLERS-could be challenging
We will take out at Lithia Springs---
We will meet at Alderman's Ford Canoe Launch located by SR 39 and Thompson Road and drop off our kayaks---then we will shuttle to Lithia springs (take out) and drop off our vehicles.
Here’s two different ways to get to launch:
1) Take S.R. 60 to S.R. 39. Go South on S.R. 39 5 1/2 miles to the river. Cross the bridge, first road on the right is Thompson Rd. Park is on the right.
2) From I-75 take Exit 250 east onto Gibsonton Drive (go 1 mile); road name changes to Boyette Road (go 3.6 miles). Keep straight onto Fishhawk Blvd. (go 4.6 miles). Turn right onto CR-640 (Lithia-Pinecrest Road) (go 4 miles). Turn left onto CR 39 (north) (go 1 mile). Alderman Ford Park is at Thompson Road and CR-39. Park should be on the left.
Difficulty: Moderate not for beginners
Distance: 11.5 miles from Alderman's Ford Park to lithia
The river is fairly swift (1 to 4 MPH depending on water levels), with several small sets of whitewater rapids created by limestone shoals in the river. At very low water levels these become difficult to pass without bottoming out and at high water you might not notice them. However, if the water is just right, you'll experience up to 10 sets of class 1 whitewater rapids. Of course, compared to any state north of 30 degrees latitude it's not much, but for Florida, the whitewater is great.
Please note: If the Alafia is flowing fast (over 3 MPH), especially after heavy rains and flooding, this is no place for a beginner. You're sure to encounter numerous dead-falls, strainers and in general you'll be paddling through the trees. Tight turns further complicate the issue.