Showing posts with label Durbin Creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Durbin Creek. Show all posts

January 4, 2021

Wandering Through the Woods

 A Walk in the Park...

Sunday morning was nice and cool in Jacksonville. It was overcast, a bit misty, and in the low 60s. Just a lovely temperature to be outside. Yes, I could have gone fishing, but I didn't. Instead, stretching the legs felt appropriate, and I took a leisurely hike on the sandy trails of the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve about ten minutes from my house.

One of the nice things about living in an area that's being (perhaps too rapidly) developed is at least they've been good about keeping greenspaces open for recreational activities. This little cache of nature is bordered on most sides by shopping centers and residential neighborhoods, but once your inside, you'd never know it.

Here are few photos from the five mile loop I took. Unfortunately, didn't see much wildlife, but it's not uncommon to see tortoises, turkey, or deer back there.

Related Suburban Development Note:

When I moved to Jacksonville and got a kayak, the first place I broke it in at was the Durbin Creek, which is part of the Bartram Canoe Trail, as mentioned in this post from back in the day. Well, back then, the creek was accessible down a gravel road that ran right off the main road down to the water. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, that gravel road is gone as there's now a fancy overpass going over the creek and each side is gated off.

I was pleased to see that after investigating retention ponds for fishing opportunities in the parking lot of the giant shopping center they built nearby, that they actually did maintain access to the creek. Although you can't drive down to the launch, they built a nice little boardwalk down to the water where there's a little floating dock. 

It's not exactly the most convenient way to access the creek with a kayak or canoe, but it can be done, so I thought that was pretty great. I thought the access was lost forever. 

I'll have to do a little more exploring in future days to see if there's an easier, nearby spot to "put in," perhaps accessible from the other bank; my guess is that there is, I just need to find it.

September 23, 2013

Exploring Florida - Bartram Canoe Trail on Durbin Creek

As noted in the previous post, I finally stopped procrastinating and went out and bought a kayak (Native Watercraft Slayer 12).  I ordered it online and it arrived last week, so I (with the assistance of my wife - she's much better at comprehending instructions) spent Saturday afternoon installing the roof rack and setting up the kayak to prepare it to go for a paddle.

Unfortunately, Sunday was calling for thunderstorms in the early afternoon, so I ditched my plans to take it out for an extended maiden voyage in the marshes north or south of town (I hadn't picked which one), rather opting for something much more convenient & closer to home.

A little bit down the road from where I live there are signs for the Bartram Canoe Trail.  Evidently back in the day (1770s) William Bartram, a naturalist and explorer from Philadelphia (ironic?) did a tour of the Southeast and pretty much discovered and documented many of the plants and animals of the area.  

William Bartram Sketch of Alligators on St. Johns River

There's a high school in Philly named after his father John Bartram, and funny enough the high school down the street from my house is named after William, (Bartram Trail).  William did a lot of his early work in the area I live around the St. John's River.  The water I paddled in today, Durbin Creek, is part of the waterway system he explored almost 250 years ago.

Right off the highway, there's a nice little "park" with enough room for a few cars and a canoe/kayak launch.

The water was pretty calm and it was an easy paddle.  It's a swamp after all, so I didn't have the concern of fast moving water, etc...  I largely took the opportunity to feel out and move around in the kayak...adjusting the seat...reaching for things...rocking back and forth...I even tried standing up from a seated position.  That's going to take some more practice.  The kayak handled it well, and I did get upright, I just don't have my sea legs yet.

I brought a fishing rod, and tried casting it for a little bit, just to get a feel since I've never really done that before.  I didn't catch anything, but honestly, I didn't know what I was fishing for in the first place.  Probably gators.  Didn't much matter, it's really beautiful back there and plenty to look at to keep one's interest.

It was a relatively quick little paddle...I went out about a mile and and a half before backtracking back to the park.  I really wanted to avoid the impending downpour, so I cut the trip short.  It was a good call because pretty much as soon as I got home, the skies opened up in true Florida fashion.

Footnote:  When I got back to my SUV there was a business card wedged in the window from the Durbin Creek Wilderness Society.  Evidently these are 3 "everyday Joes" that are the keepers of Durbin Creek and do a great job volunteering their time (& manpower) to keep the water clear of both natural and man-made maladies so folks can continue to enjoy the resource.  Hats off to them for doing a great job!  They have a blog at and a Facebook page HERE.  If you're interested in learning more, there's a ton of great pictures and information at each resource.