Hike Up the Alapaha Dead River – November 23, 2013

Tom Morris will lead a hike up the Alapaha River to the Dead River.  The hike will be moderately strenuous and no more than about four miles in length.  We will hike through really nice hardwood forest and explore some of the most breathtaking geology in Florida.

The Alapaha River heads up in Georgia about 50 miles north of Jennings, Florida.  In Georgia the river flows on top of many feet of clay, but when it crosses into Florida it enters an area of exposed cavernous limestone.  Here the river flows underground at a number of sinkholes.  The most spectacular of these sinking points is known to the locals as the Alapaha Dead River.  During dry weather the entire flow of the Alapaha rushes into a deep canyon-like ravine and disappears into the earth a half-mile later into a cave at the base of a limestone headwall.

Set aside the whole day for this outing.

There are two ways to join us on this trip.  The first is to camp the night before (= Friday November 22nd) at a place called Thunderhole.  Tom has owned this 10 acre parcel of dirt property for some time now.  It is a wonderful place to camp because it has a sink hole and the only development is a fire pit.  Since there is no development of any kind, campers will want to arrive before sunset so setting up tents, getting organized, and eating dinner will be easier.  Since the campsite is several hundred yards from the parking lot, your stuff must be lugged to the place where you pitch your tent.

If you want to make a day trip out of the outing, you should meet us at Thunderhole at 9:30AM Saturday morning.  The drive from Thunderhole to the parking lot on the Alapaha River is about 30 minutes.

Andrew Scholberg and his son canoed the Suwannee River in 2005 when the river was 10-15 higher than it is now.  For his account of their exciting trip click on the link.  His  description is similar to the one I experienced 30 years ago when I paddled down the Alapaha River at flood stage.

Contact Person:  Dave Wilson 1-352-377-5250

Equipment:  If you camp the Friday night at Thunderhole, you will need a tent, sleeping bag, jacket, and food.  At the latest we will leave by noon on Sunday.

Difficulty Level:  Moderate

Directions:  For directions to Thunderhole double click twice on the map displayed below.  The drive from Gainesville takes about an hour and 45 minutes.  Sunset is at 5:30PM so plan accordingly.