1) Where are you from? Your profession? I am from Jacksonville, Florida. Originally an Ohio native, I moved to Jacksonville in 1989. I work as an RN in the home health field.
2) How did you become interested in paddling? I bought a book two years ago on places to paddle in Florida. I love to experience nature and, for me, paddling is the ultimate in natural serenity. My first experience was Amelia Island last summer and I immediately fell in love with kayaking.
3) Do you have a favorite place to paddle? I have only been to a handful of places and still have a lot of exploring to do. So far my favorite place is Amelia Island because it is very beautiful and you see so much wildlife. The Suwannee River is cool too because you get to see all the springs along the way.
4) Our recent Suwannee River Wilderness Trail trip was your first with Paddle Florida. What did you most/least enjoy? What did you learn? What I liked most about the trip was the camaraderie with the other paddlers. I was immediately welcomed and never felt like an inexperienced newcomer. I enjoyed listening to stories of past paddling adventures and meeting so many interesting people. The campsites were really nice, everything was very organized, and I always felt safe. What I least enjoyed were the chilly temps on my last night of the trip. I learned a lot about equipment, water conditions, and what to look for when selecting a kayak.
5) Can you describe a particular trip 'highlight' from your experience with us on the Suwannee? The most important and meaningful highlights for me were the educational sessions we had on water conservation and the opportunity we had to participate in a day of river cleanup. I went away feeling like I had become involved in something important and that I could make a difference. The trip became much more than enjoying a few days of paddling.
6) Might you consider coming on future Paddle Florida trips? Any particular ones interest you most? I can't wait to go on more trips with Paddle Florida. I wish I could go on all of them. I don't want to miss any!
7) What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip for the first time? My advice is to get signed up so that you don't miss out on these great opportunities. I wish I had heard about Paddle Florida sooner! I had to cut the six-day Suwannee trip short and only paddled four days, thinking six would be too much. I really regretted cutting my trip short. I didn't want to leave!