I can always count on John to find new trails to hike or ride. Last week he suggested we ride the Woodpecker Trail in White Springs. That meant setting the alarm clock for 6:00 (during the first week of school), but we had a two hour drive ahead of us and didn’t want to ride in the heat of the day.
Since Woodpecker Trail is only seven miles round trip, we decided to not only ride, but to also hike to Big Shoals, Florida’s largest whitewater rapids.
It’s an easy mile to the shoals, but since we were the first on the trail, we had the pleasure of breaking through all of the spider webs. I looked like a crazy Ninja chopping my way down the path trying to avoid having webs across my face. And after a short while, John took the lead and handled the webs and spiders blocking the way.
The overlook provided a good view of the Class III whitewater. But of course, we had to climb down the rocks to get a closer view.
The first time we were on this part of the Suwannee River was in the early 1980s…in a canoe. We watched two canoes attempt to manuever through the rapids unsuccessfully, but that didn’t prevent us from making our own attempt. I’m pleased to say we paddled through without any difficulty and plucked the items from the overturned canoes out of the river tossing them on the bank so they could be retrieved by their owners once they were back on the water.
When we completed the hike and returned to our car, we unloaded the bikes and started down the paved trail.
Within the first couple hundred feet, we found the trail blocked by a tree upended in a recent storm, but John wouldn’t let me use that as an excuse to call it a day.
The 3.4 mile Woodpecker Trail connects the Big Shoals and the Little Shoals through a mostly wooded path with bridges crossing tributaries of the Suwannee.
Big Shoals State Park offers over 28 miles of wooded trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and birding, and for those interested in water, there’s a canoe launch and plenty of opportunities for fishing.
However, be aware that those who own the property adjacent to the park don’t take lightly to trespassers.