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Local seniors kayak four rivers in four days, honoring late Outdoors editor Terry Tomalin's legacy to explore Florida

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, right, is the official tour guide of a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida she organized for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88.

LARA CERRI | Times

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, right, is the official tour guide of a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida she organized for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88.

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, is the official tour guide of a four-day, four-river tour in west-central Florida she organized for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88. They are doing their third annual paddle of the Weeki Wachee, Sante Fe, Withlacoochee and Rainbow Rivers this week.

They do it for themselves, and also to honor Tampa Bay Times' late outdoors editor Terry Tomalin, who left a legacy to embrace fears and explore Florida and the world. "We are exploring Florida," said Meyers. "At this age, we have no fears... except for the nursing home."

The groups spent day one covering just over seven miles of the crystal clear Weeki Wachee, spotting turtles and herons, and admiring the subtle fall colors of the area's cypress and maple trees with their mahogany and golden hues.

"I think about the children who grow up in the streets of New York and never get to see the shapes of the trees and the quiet and... it's just such a privilege to be out here," says Orlando resident Anne Jones, 88, who got in her first kayak at age 75.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, is the official tour guide of a four-day, four-river tour in west-central Florida she organized for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88. They are doing their third annual paddle of the Weeki Wachee, Sante Fe, Withlacoochee and Rainbow Rivers this week.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

(From left) Mary Berlin, 67, of Treasure Island, Marge Schabel, 69, of Madeira Beach, and Mary Meyers, 83, of Treasure Island take a break half way down a 7.5 mile paddle on the Weeki Wachee River on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, to snack on Meyers' homemade deviled eggs.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

(From left) Sandy Berlin, 73, of Seattle, Mary Berlin, 67, of Treasure Island, and Marge Schabel, 69, of Madeira Beach, take a stretch break on the Weeki Wachee River on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

A bougainvillea leaf floats atop the Weeki Wachee River on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Sisters in law Mary Berlin, 67, (second from right) and Sandy Berlin, 73, of Seattle, (far right) reach out to share snacks during a break from paddling on the Santa Fe River near High Springs, FL Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Orlando resident Anne Jones, 88, kayaks the Santa Fe River near High Springs, FL Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Treasure Island resident Mary Berlin, 67, kayaks the Santa Fe River near High Springs, FL Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers is leading a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida for herself and half a dozen friends, including Berlin.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Domestic goats watch from the banks of the Santa Fe River as kayakers float by Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Spanish moss hangs from branches with fall foliage on the banks of the Santa Fe River Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Turtles rest on a log on the Santa Fe River Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Cypress knees are visible on the banks of the Santa Fe River Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Charlotte, NC resident Kathryn MacVicker, 70, left, and Treasure Island resident Mary Berlin, 67, kayak into Blue Springs Park in High Springs, FL from the Sante Fe River Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Kayakers led by Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, paddle the Santa Fe River from Blue Springs Park in High Springs, FL Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, ties a bandana on Kathryn MacVicker, 70, of Charlotte, before kayaking eight miles on the Withlacoochee River Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. Meyers is the official tour guide of a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Monica Kranzel, 70, of Largo, far left, gets greeted by Mary Berlin, 73, of Treasure Island, before kayaking eight miles on the Withlacoochee River Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

A group led by Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, paddles down the Withlacoochee on a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, paddles down the Withlacoochee River on a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Treasure Island resident Mary Meyers, 83, paddles down the Withlacoochee River on a 4-day, 4-river tour in west-central Florida Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 for herself and half a dozen friends, ages 67-88.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Cypress knees are backlit by the late afternoon sun on the Withlacoochee River Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Mary Berlin, 73, of Treasure Island, kayaks with friends on the Withlacoochee River Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Marge Schabel, 69, of Madeira Beach, kayaks with friends on the Withlacoochee River Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Mary Berlin, 73, of Treasure Island, laughed as she and her senior friends paddled by this sign in their kayaks on the Withlacoochee River Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. The seniors get together annually for a paddling adventure in west-central Florida

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Mary Meyers, 83, of Treasure Island, (left) and Anne , 88, of Orlando, set out on the Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

A cormorant takes a rest on the Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Largo resident Monica Kranzel leads the group down the Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

The group takes their lunch break on the Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Mary Meyers' group paddles down the Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, the fourth river in four days.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Sunlit branches reach out from the banks of the crystal clear Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

Marge Schabel, 69, of Madeira Beach, (left) points out a limpkin to Mary Meyers on the Rainbow River Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

Local seniors kayak four rivers in four days, honoring late Outdoors editor Terry Tomalin's legacy to explore Florida 11/14/16 [Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2016 5:46pm]
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