World Golf Village’s Other Side

Posted by: Rick Pariani in Uncategorized

SKMBT_C35210061013500When you look at a map of the greater World Golf Village area, ever wonder what all those curvaceous creeks are like?  Well, it is simple to channel that wonder into an easy exploration, for most of the larger creeks in our area are beautifully serene and old-Florida wild.
Two of the best creeks for a paddle excursion are right at the doorstep to the World Golf Village.  One of them, Six Mile Creek, forms the western boundary of the King & Bear and Heritage Landing neighborhoods.  Six Mile Creek, along with its sister, Trout Creek, flow into the St. Johns River at their confluence with Palmo Cove.  In the 1800’s both creeks enabled loggers to gain access to harvest prime timber and raft it out to the broad St. Johns River, eventually delivering it to the mills in Jacksonville.  Today, the creeks offer a pristine glimpse into the flora and fauna that so intrigued the Bartram’s during their discoveries in the late 1700’s.
For starters, I suggest a half-day of boating that will reveal the unique character and quality of both Six Mile Creek and Trout Creek, while providing a window to the St. Johns River’s majesty.
There are two ways to do my suggested trip.  For an out-and-back trip, try putting in at the St. Johns County Trout Creek boat ramp on SR 16 / SR 13 – paddling out from there and returning to the same location.  Optionally, you can set up a shuttle with one car at the Outback Crab Shack on CR 13 – that way you can put in at Trout Creek and take out at the Crab Shack (after your lunch or dinner – just tell Ms. Margaret, Joe or David that you are leaving your car, before you depart).
Four of us recently did a very leisurely 3 hour, 20 minute canoe trip, putting in at Trout Creek.  We paddled out the creek to Palmo Cove, and then hugged the western shoreline of the cove as we looked across the wide, wide expanse of the St. Johns River over to the distance shore in Clay County.  We then entered the mouth of Six Mile Creek and paddled past the Crab Shack and under the CR 13 bridge.  The bridge serves as gateway to the wilds, for shortly after passing beneath it, Six Mile Creek starts to really show off its nature.  We paddled to the confluence of Six Mile Creek and Mill Creek, passing the mouth of Sweetwater Creek and a lone, single dock along the way.  The combination of whisper-quietness, mirror-reflective black-water and undisturbed forested creek banks will showcase the other side of World Golf Village as you may never have imagined.  We turned around at Mill Creek and paddled back to the Crab Shack for a classic fish and shrimp luncheon.  We used our shuttle car to go retrieve our canoe-carrying vehicle back at Trout Creek – however, it would have also been enjoyable to paddle back to the put-in point at Trout Creek and work off some of those lunch calories.
On our trip, we witnessed a pair of Great Blue Herons, feather-counting close; an immense Pileated Woodpecker swooping back and forth through the tree-tops with its distinctive call; many large, torpedo-shaped Gar fish lurking just below the surface; and a calm and inquisitive Barred Owl looking right into our camera lens when we silently slipped beneath its perch.  The highlight and excitement of the trip was the big, bull gator – every bit of 12 feet in length – that had staked out his territory on Six Mile Creek – showing off right in front of us on both our way up-creek and back.  For me – that is why I prefer the extra height of a canoe over the knuckle-dragging, low-riding habit of a kayak.
I highly recommend that you study your maps, familiarize yourself with the creeks and tributaries, assess possible put-in and take-out points and take the plunge with your canoe or kayak.  I am certain you will come to appreciate the wild side of our area.  When you do, if you do so during all but the most hottest of seasons, you will experience some very memorable times.  Make good plans – get some good friends – and go!


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