Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Explore the 5-mile water trail from Largo to Seminole

Imagine paddling your way from Largo to Seminole.

The Largo parks department offers just such an opportunity with a 5-mile water trail from Largo's Central Park Nature Preserve to Lake Seminole Park.

I decided to give it a try, despite a complete lack of kayaking experience. I don't even go camping. My idea of roughing it is staying at a hotel without a Jacuzzi.

The first order of business was to recruit strong arms. Of course, this means sweet-talking DH, a.k.a. Dear Husband. More comfortable with a soldering iron than a piece of sports equipment, he valiantly agreed.

"It's a one-and-a-half-hour trip one way with a good, hard paddle," said Greg Brown, parks superintendent. "A bit longer if you're taking your time."

Brown said two local brothers, Kyle and Shaun Gillespie, improved the trail several years ago as their Eagle Scout projects. Kyle posted markers along the waterway and created the online brochure, while Shaun built the launch dock at Largo Central Park. It sounded easy enough.

As we pushed off, we smiled at the turtles lounging nearby and reminded ourselves this was an adventure. As the day wore on, it got harder to keep those smiles in place.

I had neglected to ask about the nature of the markers, thinking they would be obvious. It took more than 30 minutes of paddling and backtracking before we understood that the white floating PVC pipes with no markings are the trail pointers. Some of them are obscured by an overgrowth of aquatic plants caused by the lack of water flow due to drought conditions.

Our backtracking had us paddling upstream, so we found ourselves tired, hot, sweaty and back in view of our starting point. Still, we persevered.

"There are two places where you have to go through drainage pipes," Brown had explained. "You have to duck down to get through."

We went through the first pipe without incident, enjoying the cool shade. Learning to paddle together was less enjoyable. I'm glad that 27 years of marriage has taught us to be nice.

After an hour of paddling I had a blister from my death grip on the paddle and I was covered with the green slime and algae I had splashed on myself. DH lacked energy for talking.

We paused at another PVC marker and determined we needed to bear right to enter another pipe. I thought we had finally reached Ulmerton Road, where Brown had assured me "it gets really nice after that — it's worth it."

The trail beneath Ulmerton was heavily covered by floating plants. We tried repeatedly to get through the vegetation to no avail. Had we been more experienced at paddling together we might have made it through, but that was not to be.

Thinking we had perhaps misread the marker, we paddled backwards through the vegetation until we could turn around and try another channel. When that came to a dead end, we decided to save our marriage and abandon our adventure. With aching arms we made it back to the Largo dock.

I still think the Largo trail to Seminole is an adventure. I wish we had prevailed and caught a glimpse of the otters, birds, alligators and mighty oaks along the way. But I think I'll need some practice before I try tackling it again.

Where: The launch dock is at Largo Central Park Nature Preserve, 150 Highland Ave. SE

>>If you go

Scope the route

Go to www.largo.com to review an online brochure.

Explore the 5-mile water trail from Largo to Seminole 07/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 5:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lego T-rex and scores of other brick sculptures free to see in Tampa

    News

    TAMPA — Envision the effort that went into building a basic Lego model with your kids. Now imagine arranging the same toys to look like the Mona Lisa or an 80,020-piece Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  2. Rick Scott signs medical marijuana, 38 other bills into law

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott
  3. St. Pete qualifying ends. Seven for mayor. Eight for District 6 on primary ballot

    Blogs

    The smiles of the faces of the workers in the City Clerk’s office said it all. The qualifying period for city elections was almost over.

    City Clerk Chan Srinivasa (2nd left) and Senior Deputy City Clerk  Cathy Davis (1st left) celebrate the end of qualifying period with colleagues on Friday afternoon
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Registered sexual predator charged in assault of woman in Brooksville

    Public Safety

    Times Staff Writer

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County deputies arrested a registered sexual predator Thursday after they say he attempted to assault a woman and fled into a storm drain.

    Lee Roy Rettley has been charged with attempted homicide, attempted sexual battery and home invasion robbery.