Discover the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail

Florida Circumnavigational Paddling Trail

The premier thru-paddling trail in Florida is the 1550-mile, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, or the "CT" for short. It begins at the Alabama border and ends at the Georgia border. The Florida Office of Greenways & Trails has plotted this route especially for kayakers, an effort led by assistant bureau chief Doug Alderson.

 

Linguistic sticklers might point out that Florida is not an island, so you can’t circumnavigate it. If you're one of these people, I commission you to invent a new word that means “to go all the way around a peninsula.” While you’re at it, come up with a replacement word for "palindrome" which is itself a palindrome.


What the Heck is a "Thru-Paddle?"

In the backpacking world, a complete end-to-end hike of a long trail like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail is called a thru-hike, and the backpacker is a thru-hiker. Let's adopt those terms to long-distance kayaking and canoeing. A trip lasting the entire length of a river from its uppermost source to its mouth should be called a thru-paddle and the trekker a thru-paddler. Similarly, an end-to-end paddle of a long-distance canoe or kayak trail, like the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, should be called a thru-paddle.

 

Other terms for a thru-paddle are problematic:

    1)  kayak touring                  - of what? is it self-supported?

    2)  kayak camping               - for how many nights?

    3)  long-distance paddling    - how long is long-distance?

 

Thru-paddle is more precise: a thru-paddle is a kayak or canoe trip that undertakes an entire route, trail, or waterway in a single, continuous, self-supported trip.