Friday, September 15, 2006

Julington Creek: "This ain't gonna last long"

I've posted so much about kayaking on this blog that it would probably be more accurate to title it with a name pertaining to paddling rather than my heritage. However, I believe it is in part my heritage that makes me enjoy kayaking and nature so much. Therefore, HurricaneTeen's blog will still be called "The Minorcan Factor" :-D

I've written about Julington Creek briefly in my previous posts about Durbin Creek. It is similar to Durbin Creek, but has more development (you can thank Duval County for that) on its banks. It remains a very beautiful and relaxing trip, though, and I always look forward to wetting a paddle in its dark brown, tannin-stained water. We set off from the Hood Landing Boat Ramp near Clark's Fish Camp (I referred to the alligator feed vending machines here, and they still remain. I need to get in contact with the game department and ask some questions.) It was early in the morning (about 7:15, I think) and it was relatively cool for the Florida summer, which made for some nice steam wafting from the glassy surface of the water.
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Paddling downstream, the creek narrowed out and the houses on the noth bank gradually disappeared.

After a while, we came upon a house that caught my eye. This was a beautiful house that I thought looked like an old fish camp from the looks of the architecture and layout. A man was feeding some fish in the creek and we stopped and talked for about 5 minutes. As we spoke, the distinctive rapping of a Pileated Woodpecker echoed through the swamp. He told us that he had just retired from the military and was getting his life back together back at home. He spoke of how much the area has changed in the time he was gone (trust me, I noticed) and about his website, When I commented on how nice his house was, he informed me that it was in fact an old fish camp that he had bought for a very low price a while back. He said that he loved it, too, but unfortunately he was going to take it out and build something higher off the creek, because if a flood were to come, he would suffer great losses. I can understand his concern and can't blame him for protecting his property, but I view it as yet another sign of old Florida being destroyed. As we said our goodbyes, he invited us to come back and visit him again. Next time I make this paddle I will be sure to do so, and also to get some pictures of his beautiful house.
As we passed by some other nice backwoods-looking homes (a rarity in this part of town) a couple of men sat and played banjo and fiddle in a bluegrass tune I could listen to for hours. Soon after, we passed under the St. Augustine Road bridge and continued on until a log blocked our path.
Here's some more pictures of this beautiful creek:

Blogger's being stubborn again and it won't let me post pictures. I'll post the rest of the pictures tomorrow.


Laura said...

I just wandered over from FC's site and I've spent the past half an hour reading through your posts with a grin that got wider by the minute.

Your photos show the parts of Florida that the golf-course, strip-mall, condo-lovin' people rarely see. Finally, a person who understands Florida the way it was meant to be!

I hope you will continue to write about and photograph Florida as you move through high school, college and beyond. I'd like to add you to my blogroll and I really look forward to reading more of your work!

Hurricane Teen said...

Wow! Thank you very much for the time spent reading and the kind words! As always, you are exactly right when it comes to Florida. I would greatly appreciate it if you added me to your blogroll and I need to start writing more often!

P.S. I'm still petitioning to get you on the ballot for governor!

Sharon Liz said...

Hi, great story and photos.Came by from FC. Please post more often.

John Cowart said...

Hi Hurricane,
Just came over via the link on Pure Florida Cracker and I'm glad I did!
Thanks for your insights into our world... Who would even think of putting sugar on grits???

Yesterday my wife and I walked around downtown Jacksonville for a while amazed at the development of water-front condos. I wish you could have seen the river back in the 1950s when Navy ships tied up right at the Main Street bridge and the river seemed twice as wide. Dolphins rolled in the water right downtown... it was a different world. Looks like the carpetbaggers are winning; but your posts give me hope that the real Florida will survive the invasion.

Hurricane Teen said...

sharon liz - Thanks for stopping by, and I surely will post more often as long as people are reading :-D

john cowart - Everything's changing in Jacksonville really fast, I know. To be honest, I don't have much hope for the future of Florida. Thanks for stopping by!

Capt JP Gaither said...

Ahoy all... I am very happy to hear someone tell a tale with me included. After 3 years of war, I am always excited to meet and greet people that crusie past my house. It meant alot to me to hear the information put out and based on that I am going to keep this very little fishing shack as is.... Sometime I guess I get caught up in the advancement of progress when I do all I can to preserve history. I will keep the ol girl as is and maybe start adding to it for affect. I'm glad you weren't around when I had my banjo out.... I bloody well need practice on it and my be cruel for the birds and passersby to hear. Look forward to seeing anyone passing by. Feel free to contact me if anyone wants to volunteer for an hour or 2 on clean ups. I will use ethe skiff for that and enjoy taking care of the creek whenever possible.... I find that I talk to myself alot though and once caught myself in an arguement... that could be bad... fare winds and following seas...
Capt JP Gaither

Hurricane Teen said...

Wow, Captain! How did you find me? I am glad to hear that you are keeping the building as-is. It truly is a very unique piece of Florida history. We'll probably be back around there within the next couple of weeks (probably on a Sunday morning). And I need to schedule a time to go out with to and do a little cleaning up. The area certainly needs it.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your post about Ghostlight Road. I too grew up in the area and spent many a night driving down "Airport Road" with the lights off navigating by moonlight. It always raised the hair on my neck when we spotted the eerie ghost light. And I too am a Minorcan decendant and listed on the Minorcan Family website.

Keep up the great posts!!

Anonymous said...

I got here through some very horizontal browsing through a Wikipedia article on William Cooley. I always go straight to the location (ignoring much history in favor of gut reaction). I'm left with a desire to dip my own paddle into the tannin-stained waters. It sounds pretty good up here in arctic frozen Detroit. At least the mosquitos are gone!
I hope Florida stays above water in this global-warming-denial kind of politcal climate. I hope Michigan stays Michigan and doesn't become Florida, much as I'd like to paddle my way down the flooded freeway.