November 17-23, 2019

Status FULL
Cost $1,987 Per Person Double Occupancy
Travel Dates November 17-23, 2019
Description Return with me to a place I visited in March, 2016.  It’s a place so magical, that it will also draw you back. The Blackwater River State Forest is located in the Florida Panhandle northeast of Pensacola. The forest borders the Conecuh National Forest to the north and extends southward toward Eglin Air Force Base. Many beautiful streams flow through the forest. The most notable are Blackwater River, Juniper Creek, Coldwater Creek and Sweetwater Creek.

Each day  our guides will cook breakfast. We will then paddle a creek or river section, enjoy a riverside picnic lunch, then return to our private lodge for some late afternoon socializing, an amazing dinner, prepared by our guides, and free time in the evening.

The Blackwater River State Forest is one of the largest state forests in Florida and is named for the Blackwater River, which begins to the north in Alabama and meanders approximately 30 miles southwestward through the forest into Blackwater Bay, near Milton, Florida. Blackwater River is one of the few shifting sand bottom streams that remains in its natural state for nearly its entire length. The topography of the forest is gently rolling, and various natural communities are represented.

The Blackwater River State Forest is known for its longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem, which, in combination with the Conecuh National Forest to the north and Eglin Air Force Base to the south, is the largest contiguous ecological community of this type in the world. Longleaf pines once covered over 60 million acres in the Southeastern United States coastal plain area. Less than 5 percent of the original acreage now remains. Longleaf pine communities are rich in plant and animal life, including many species classified as endangered, threatened or of special concern.

Kayaks, paddles and pfds will be provided by the guides. We will be paddling 12 foot plastic Neckys.  These are solo recreational kayaks. Every day we will be accompanied  by two very experienced naturalist guides, who will provide insight into the area’s ecology and natural history.

We will be staying at Adventures Unlimited.

Our group will book the School House Inn. Each room has hardwood floors, high ceilings, large windows, 2 twin beds and private baths. Each room is air conditioned. We will have exclusive use of the BBQ Shack for dinning. Meals will be prepared by our guides. There are picnic tables, a prep area/dining bar, two gas grills inside, a full sized refrigerator, a microwave, a sink and basic cookware and utensils in the shack.

In addition, the facility has zip lines (not included in trip cost) and a trail system which runs along the Blackwater River.

  • 6 nights lodging
  • 6 breakfast, 5 lunches and 6 dinners
  • Daily maid service at the lodge
  • All ground transportation (to and from the Pensacola airport.), along with transportation during the trip
  • Van support  transporting kayaks, kayaking gear, and riverside lunches.
  • Kayaks (12 foot plastic Neckys), paddles, and PFDs  two local guides/naturalists
  • Gratuities for guides and maids.
Not Included
  • Airfare/transportation to the Pensacola airport
  • Meals, lodging  and transportation before and after the trip dates
  • Lunch on day 1
  • Dinner on day 6
  • Personal items, such as bug dope, sunscreen, drybags/daypacks , raingear, and footwear

Trip insurance is not included in the trip price and is very strongly recommended.

Payment Policy A Deposit of $450 is due with the application forms to register for the trip.

Must have at least 11 registered and paid in full by August 1, 2019 for the trip to go. The balance of $1,537 is due no later than August 1, 2019.

Cancellation Policy
  • If you cancel prior to August 1, 2019 everything except the $100 ADK registration fee will be refunded.
  • On or after August  1, 2019, refund will only be made if the vacancy can be filled from a waiting list maintained by the leader, if any, and then all but $100 will be refunded.
  • If the leader decides that this trip is not for you, or the trip is canceled by ADK, all payments received by ADK will be refunded.
Trip Insurance It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list, if any, you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip.



Daily Itinerary Day 1: Sunday, November 17
Our guide will pick up everyone who is arriving by air  at the Pensacola International Airport at noon. For those driving, we will discuss a convenient meeting location.  We have a favorite lunch spot ( not included in trip cost) in town that’s on our way to the lodge. After lunch it is a 30-minute shuttle to our lodge. Once everyone settles in we will have a little dry land paddle instruction, introductions, tour of our lodge, socializing, and dinner.  Afterwards we will encourage everyone to explore the grounds and hopefully end up at the river for an evening swim and / or  short hike  with the chance of a  possible moon rise. Dinner included.Day 2:  Monday, November 18
The Blackwater River has exceptionally clear and pure water, this added to its white sand bottom make it one of the most popular rivers canoed in Florida. So much so that the Florida legislators proclaimed the nearby town of Milton as the “Canoe Capital of Florida.” We will take our time mostly floating this amazing treasure, stopping for the occasional swim, snack, or water fight. If we can get an early start we might get lucky and spot a Florida bear, bobcat, beaver, or river otter. (11 paddling miles). Breakfast, riverside lunch and dinner included.Day 3:  Tuesday, November 19
We travel deep into the wilds of the Blackwater forest. For most people this is the most aesthetically pleasing landscape on the river. Enormous cedar trees line the bank and shade our course, multi colored bluffs twist to hug the curves of the lazy water, and wildlife peeks its heads out to investigate our presence. (11.5 paddling miles) Breakfast, riverside lunch and dinner included.Day 4:  Wednesday, November 20
Early morning start today because we have lots of awesome paddling spots to visit. Our first paddle will be on the seldom visited and deeply remote Juniper Creek. Our kayaks will glide over clear water with a tinge of red. When the sun finds its way through the canopy it will reflect on the almost glowing white sand river bottom. As we float downstream the forest will close in on us almost forming a green tunnel. At the take out we will have a riverside picnic before driving the short distance to a fast moving section of the Blackwater River. Juniper Creek  (6 miles) Blackwater River(8.5 paddling miles) Breakfast, riverside lunch and dinner included.Day 5: Thursday, November 21
The Coldwater Creek begins as a spring very near the Alabama Florida border at an elevation of nearly 300’ above sea level (this is a mountain to Floridians). It then winds it’s sparkling clear waters towards the Gulf of Mexico flowing through the Blackwater Forest. Paddlers enjoy the swiftness of the current and the beautiful sugar sand beaches. The remoteness of the river adds to the quietness, stillness, and to the amount of viewable wildlife. The creek maintains a 76-78 degree temperature year round. (11 paddling miles) Breakfast, riverside lunch and dinner included.

Day 6:  Friday,  November 22
Beach day! We love the rivers that make up the panhandle, however, what most people love about this area is the enormous white sand beaches and clear gulf waters. We will pack up everything we need in the morning and head out to  Gulf Islands National Seashore. Lots of history, scenery, and sunshine. Dinner will be at a local seafood restaurant ( not included in trip cost).  Breakfast, and beach lunch included.Day 7:  Saturday, November 23
For those looking for a bit of excitement our lodge offers a thrilling zip line course over the tree tops and across the river (not included in trip cost.)  For everyone else there is leisurely morning strolls through the forest or a swim, packing up and heading to the Pensacola airport. Drop off is at 1pm. Breakfast will be our last meal together.

Level of Difficulty Participants must have prior flatwater paddling experience and know paddling fundamentals. You must be comfortable sitting in a kayak for anywhere from 2-4  hours at a given time. We will be on the water for 7 hours each day, but will take breaks.  Be aware that biting insects, alligators and poisonous  snakes all make this area home.  Although, I did not encounter any during my trip in March, 2016. Heavy rains could change the conditions / character of the river(s). This includes fast moving water, blowdowns and strainers.  Since this is Florida, late afternoon rains and thunderstorms are always a possibility. These are not wide rivers, but should you dump, you must be a competent swimmer and comfortable floating in your pfd until someone can assist you. If there is any question regarding river safety, I will after consultation with our guide(s) make the appropriate determination. If I determine that conditions are not safe, we will decide on an alternate activity, such as a hike or visit to a local state park or similar. This could cause you to incur a cost not covered  by the trip price.
Registration Procedure Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact me if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact me (email or phone) and I will send you the registration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form. Complete these forms and send them to me by U.S, Postal Service with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the Credit Card Authorization) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.
Trip Leader David Pisaneschi
180 South Main Avenue, Albany, NY 12208