Monday, September 6, 2010

that sweet sweet emerald Chipola: Marianna, FL (Green)

Last year when touring Florida's natural springs, I just barely mentioned the Chipola River, going underground on the escarpment in Florida Caverns State Park. Well, we come to find out it is fed by almost 65 springs, from its initial rise on the Alabama/Florida border through Marianna, its emerald-toned water and holy limestone banks winding along, often only a mile from civilization but feeling far removed from it. Spring Creek (aka Jackson Blue Springs) is its largest tributary, and it contains several springs, mostly only accessible via water travel.
You can get in at Spring Creek county (Jackson) Park off US-90 just outside of town, by the Chipola Greenway from a dirt road off FL-73 between downtown and the bridge over I-10, or one of several boat landings upstream or downstream from these. The upper Chipola feels oh so magical, sweet, and pure! but closer to the Dead Lakes and its swampy merges with the Apalachicola it turns into a "regular" dark coastal river.

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