Port Richey to Chassahowitzka River Campground

I left Durney Island and stopped at Brasher Park for a supply run to Wal-mart. Since it was late in the afternoon, I decided to stop at Hope’s Bayou campsite about 4 miles north. It was gorgeous back there with a covered pavilion and fire ring. Unfortunately the rain came so I was stuck in my tent for a day. I should have just paddled because it was only rain without the lightning. After a day of relaxing in the rain, I paddled out and made it to Hudson a few miles later. It was quite chilly with the wind blowing pretty hard so I decided to get a room at The Inn on the Gulf. Very nice and comfortable rooms, so I stayed two nights! I needed the rest. It’s that point in a paddle where you start to lose motivation. You’re tired, lonely and it feels like you’re simply not going anywhere. For me, it comes down to self-care.

Entering Hopes Bayou Campsite
Hope’s Bayou

After I left Hudson, I paddled 17 miles to Ten Palms Unofficial campsite. I don’t think anyone has been there in a very long time. There wasn’t much room for a tent so I ended up nestled under a thorny bush. I’m glad I was in there though. About 2 AM I woke up and saw lightning flashes in the gulf. I checked my radar and saw a gnarly front heading towards me. I jumped up and put the rain-fly on and waited. Soon the wind picked up and was blowing very hard but I was protected very well and just went back to sleep as the rain poured down and the lightning flashed. It rained until about 9 AM. I woke up and decided I wouldn’t make it 23 miles to Uncle Tom’s Island. I got online and checked for tent sites available at Chassahowitzka River Campground and managed to get one before the weekend rush.

Beautiful, clear water full of stingrays
Ten Palms Unofficial campsite
It was tricky getting in there.

On my way to Chassa I learned that the water was shallow and full of rocks just below the surface. I managed to quickly cut left and right and avoided most of them but still hit a few. The damage isn’t bad but I’d rather not do it anymore. I took Blind Creek to the Chassahowitzka Bay and saw several bald eagles. I love seeing those majestic birds. I find them comforting. The incoming tide pushed me up the river fast. As I exited the salt marsh and entered the hammock, I was bewildered by the beauty. The water was clear. I could see mullet everywhere, gar fish, a family of otters swam by me and I finally encountered friendly manatees. The river traffic picked up as well. Suddenly there were kayaks and paddle-boards everywhere you looked. Most people were chasing manatees around as they slowly glided downstream. The campground here is beautiful and well maintained. There’s air boat rides, kayak rentals, a little store by the river and several restaurants that deliver.

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