Kayaking on a spring-fed river. Dry bags, tree jumping, and catch or go hungry.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TheTrailConnection)
Kayaking on a spring-fed river. Dry bags, tree jumping, and catch or go hungry.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TheTrailConnection)
Right when I was single, I was dating a girl and for me it was always important to be with somebody who enjoyed the outdoors and supported my love and desire for being outside and exploring nature. So one day I got my girlfriend, a girl sitting at the time as a gift. I bought her a kayak, if that'd be a good way to find out how much she loved the outdoors and supported this kind of lifestyle where we get out and explore. Yeah, I think she probably used it once the whole time we were dating. Yeah. Didn't care for too much. And I was like, well, if that answers that question when we broke up, I sold it on Craig's list. Oh, there you go. That was going to be, that was going to be my followup question. What'd you do with the guy? So that's what I'll call the kayak test. And this is the trail connectionSpeaker 2:
[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]Speaker 3:
Hey everybody. And welcome back to the trail connection podcast. This morning we are recording from the Juniper Springs run in Ocala national forest. And I have with me this morning a Joseph May. Dell is a good friend of mine. I've known for some time now. We , uh, went to school together and back then at that point we didn't really know each other that well, but we've had an opportunity for our families to get to know each other a little bit better over the last couple of years. And so , uh, I'm excited to have him join the podcast as my first guest and we're going to have some good discussion today. I think he's got some really unique perspective on , uh, outdoor activity. He's from South Africa, so that's why he talks a little funny. Uh, but that's good. I , uh, loved the accident and I'm happy to have him with , with me this morning. Thanks to them . It's an honor to be out here with you this morning. Beautiful river run this morning. So , Joe, why don't you take a minute and tell everybody who you are and what you do and then we'll , uh, we'll jump into.Speaker 1:
Alright . My name is Joseph [inaudible] . I am an outdoor enthusiast like Tim here. Um, I've alwaysSpeaker 3:
loved the outdoors. Something my parents always instilled in me. Um, I'm actually from South Africa. Um , some of my favorite childhood memories were camping , uh, in the African Bush. Um , going to sleep at night in my tent, listening to lion's roll. [inaudible] laughing. Um, right now I live in Florida, but still try to get out West whenever I can do better doing backpacking, kayaking. Also love being out on the ocean, just anything outdoors. I'm very passionate about being outside and exploring the outdoors. That's awesome. And I didn't realize this up until a couple of weeks ago , uh, we , uh, I shared the interest in having him come on the show and showed him what I was working on and, and I didn't realize the extent of the experience that he had and he didn't realize that I was doing a podcast or scraped as into it as much. So , uh, obviously we got some more stuff when you get to know each about each other. But , uh, anyway , I was just trying to get you to give me one the show more often. Grilled , I think what you're doing is great and I wouldn't have more adventures. Well, I appreciate that. We'll , uh, we'll definitely get you on any opportunity we can. So today, like I mentioned, we are , uh , we're doing a little little stent called Juniper run and uh , it's about a seven mile stretch of spring-fed river. Um, it starts up in a , a recreational area up in the Ocala national forest and uh, they've got a little swimming hole around the , the spring where it comes up out of the ground and then it's a really narrow, windy Amazon S field . Yeah . Uh , trip for the first, first half of the trip. We're about three and a half miles down river right now and pulled off to record a little bit and get a bite to eat before we finish up our trip this morning. And , uh , it's been really, really awesome. I have had a chance to, to kayak on a couple of different rivers around the central Florida area. Um, but nothing, nothing compares to this type of scenery and this type of runoff for , um, we were planning on doing an overnight camping trip and that didn't quite work out. So Joseph suggested doing this run cause he's done it. How many times have you done it now ? This is not my third time. Third time. And uh , I'd I would highly recommend it to anybody who's , who's interested . Very cool. I think if you have an opportunity to check out our social media pages or the YouTube channel that the, the video that we're recording, then you'll get to see some really awesome footage right here on top of the water and , and a perspective that we got this morning. So really, really cool stuff. Um, got to see a little bit of wildlife so far. Um, ran across uh, an alligator about six foot alligator and a couple turtles, some fish missed out on an Otter, which is something Joseph really wants to see today. Do you ever , and again, I look behind me for one apparently that like to follow the kayaks cause we just drove the fishes and then it makes it a lot easier for them to catch the fish. You know , I didn't know that. Yeah, that's cool. So , um, but this, this area out here is very remote. Um, we've heard a lot of stuff moving along the banks as we've come through and as we've been talking , um, but I'm sure if we were just kind of cruising long , quiet little , we probably would see a whole lot more, but a really, really incredible piece of scenery to, to experience. So , um, I'm excited to be out here today and there is a lot of wildlife out here. I heard we've got Panther out here, we've got black bear, I've got Python. Wow . Yeah. A lot of interesting stuff that we might still be fortunate to see later. Yeah. What I wanted to talk about real brief that we might see today is we might actually see Alvis today. And from what I've heard, he's still alive. And while all of this is an alligator who lives on this river, he is 14 feet long and currently weighs 800 pounds. Wow. So I think it'd be really neat to see him, Tim , but I don't know if I want to get too close to him. Yeah. Well , I've , uh , had the opportunity to do some Gator hunting and the last, last few years, and the biggest one that I've ever seen taken on the boat with me is 12 foot six. Wow . So it's amazing how much a couple of feet can add to the size and the girth of one of those animals. But I'm a 14 foot alligator is pretty much a dinosaur. They're pretty much, they're huge. It's definitely look and like, it's starting to open up a little bit. Um, after you're watching the video, then you can see that , uh , this, this run has been pretty narrow, probably not more than 10 feet wide. And , uh , now we're starting to open up a little bit more to 16, 18 feet wide in some areas. And , um , I imagine as we get a little further down the line and closer to , uh , the main body of the , the river, it'll open up quite a bit more. But , um, I gotta tell you, Joseph, I'm pretty impressed so far. This is a really neat run. Yeah. Especially I, I like the way that , uh, this, this is really just a stream that's meandering between poems and all kinds of like almost tropical type vegetation and it really does give you the feeling that you're kind of navigating some back stream in the, in another country or somewhere in the game is on . It's kind of very wild field to it. Yeah. Um , and it's seven miles of beautiful wilderness river trail. That was an interesting segue , um , with you using that term river trail. When I first put this concept together and I was talking about , um, hiking and backpacking and camping. A lot of that type of stuff doesn't usually associate with, with kayaking or , or any kind of like river activity typically. But , um , I think the, the concept of just getting outdoors and doing things that you love is , uh , is all inclusive to what the trail connection is all about. And like I mentioned in the first episode, you know, this is something that I grew up doing as a teenager and , uh, really enjoyed and that was kinda the first thing that I jumped back into when I was trying to find something to escape to. And , uh , so I definitely wanted to incorporate that into the show. And I think that using that term is , is a perfect way to describe what we're doing. Um, because this, these not all trails have dirt. Um, I've used that, that caption before, but um, there's just some really incredible places that you can explore that you can only get there by the use of water. Hey, we've, we've enjoyed our morning so far. Um , haven't quite had an opportunity to , uh, to find any swimming holes there. That's pretty shallow water. Most of the river that we've been on this morning has been between 12 and 18 inches deep. Maybe a little deeper in some areas, but , uh, not too many low spots. Um, so something that I love doing Josef out. I don't know if you have had any experience doing it before, but , uh, every opportunity I get to get on a water, I'm always looking for a tall tree and a deep Holda to jump into in the water and basically trying to find what all of this , I guess. So. Um, have you had any experience jumping out of trees or doing anything like that growing up? Not trees. I have, well , I've swung off of swings from trees into rivers and I have climbed . I've done cliff jumping [inaudible] but I've never just found a tree and just decided to jump off from it . Yeah . Okay. Yeah, that was something growing up, you know, I love doing and uh , me and my buddies, anytime we had a chance to go to the river we would , and most of the areas that we, we frequented were like tubing , rivers and , um, more popular spots. So the , the , the human traffic was a lot greater on these rivers. So you didn't really have too much of a, of a chance of disturbing wildlife or anything like that. And most of the areas were pretty well defined as , yeah, it's safe. And , um , that's a , that's something kind of the reason why I wanted to bring it up today is just kind of a , a public service announcement of guests for when you're , you're planning on doing any kind of adventure sport like that. Um, it's just , just use some caution. So my perspective on that has definitely changed since I was younger. Um, I would, before I grew up, you know, just kind of any opportunity I had, I jumped out of the tallest tree EQ fine. Um, but now that I've grown up and gotten some kids , um, I just, I think that we need to be a little bit more cautious about the , those types of activities and stuff. And my dad would always kind of warn against that growing up. And I'm not going to say I didn't take him seriously, but I definitely didn't heed the warnings as much as I should have. But , uh, there's a lot of potential danger and I'm sure you have experienced as well. Yes . I know scenarios where people have been severely injured. Yeah. So , um, you know, one, one of the things that kind of made me decide to bring this up and talk about it was there's a swimming hole not too far from where I grew up that we would go to. It's kinda , it's pretty much just a sinkhole that , uh , filled up with water. They call it a spring, but it wasn't, it was not spraying . It's very black and kind of a gross gross body of water to , uh, to be swimming in. But my, my friends and I would go and there was pretty tall tree that would overhang , um, the about the pool there and we'd climb up and jump in. And this one particular day there was a park ranger that came by and kinda was real nice about the whole thing, but politely asked us to leave. And as we were packing up our stuff, just kind of let us know that , uh, over the past several years they had pulled out several people out of that whole , because the way that the tree grew right on the edge of the water , um, kinda created a shelf of roots under the water that you couldn't see and kind of your natural tendency when you jump in is to kind of swim back towards the shore as you're coming up. And that's how a couple of folks who've gotten caught up under there and that really hit home with me. Um, it, I thought about it a lot and I scared me to death to be honest. And so pretty much since my , uh, my freshman year in college, that was , uh, something that I don't do anywhere and everywhere. It's kind of very select areas. So, but on a day like this where you've got plenty of Clearwater , um, plenty of opportunity to jump and I think it'd be something fun we could try. One thing I do want to caution you though is , um, this is a wilderness trail and if we get caught doing that, we get a $1,500 fine. Oh, I did not know that. Yeah . You neglected to mention that earlier. So we will not be true jumping today. There's a couple of things I forgot to tell you. It's , yeah, sorry. Yeah, it's all right . So speaking of that , um, you know, this being a wilderness trail and, and being a pretty remote remote piece of land out here, they're very about what we bring in. And um, so we, we're very , um, we're most searched for what we want . We were searched for , for what we brought in. Um, they, they wanted to try to avoid any kind of plastic bottles or rappers or anything that might get left behind. And , um, I just think, I think that even though that's can be a little frustrating sometimes, I , I'm okay with that because I know Justin feels the same way. Like this, this area is such a beautiful area to experience. And I would hate to leave it in a different state than what we found it. And it's not really that there were either . We're going gonna throw the Rapids away. It's like if we kept science, which is very easy to do on this food cause it's so narrow and there's so many low over hand brunches, it'd be very easy for us if there's anything like a rapper or bottle in our kayak or that to get yeah. Thrown out. Yeah. Yeah. So , um , I don't know. I'm sure most of the people who are tuning into this are very aware of the , the leave no trace movement and the organization and um, they're a group that really focuses on leaving these trails exactly the way we found them. Even to a point of not leaving the defined trail to disturb the ecosystem around the area. And that was something that we were talking about a little bit ago while we were kind of coming down the river. Some is some of this area under the water's probably never been disturbed with with human traffic or anything like that. It's mostly just been flowing and so something you don't really think about. And anytime we take some opportunities to, to enjoy the nature around us, we need to make sure that we're, we're leaving it the way that we found it and being a good steward of what we're blessed with. It really is. And one thing that's really beautiful about this river, this new invasive species going on, the banks, there is no litter in the river. It's just, you just feel like you're just out enjoying God's creation. Yeah. Yeah. And another thing that got me thinking about this , uh, leaving nature the way we left it. And my daughter , um, loves flowers and loves picking him and she's always asking me every time she sees the one , she points it out and then she'll say, daddy, can I get one? And I, I'm always, I'm always wanting her to , but I've always told her that no, we can't, can't take them because if we pick a flower and next person picks a flower, eventually nobody's going to get to enjoy what we get to see. So it's something that I'm trying to teach my kids and even though it's tough and it's really, it seems dumb to tell them no, you can't pick a flower. It's not because it a , it's disturbing. Yeah. What's there? And even something as simple as picking up a rock and skipping it in a, in a Lake. I mean there's , there's tons of folks that enjoyed doing that as like little keepsake. But I've seen recently , um, you know, some of these , uh, some of these trips out West and some of these national parks, they have the beautiful rocks laying in the, in the bank of the river. If everybody took one of those, then there wouldn't one or wouldn't be that site left for others. So big supporter of that. Some long winded, long winded say long waited a long winded sentence to say that I'm a big supporter of that movement and , and I'm looking forward to teaching my kids and , and bringing them up the same way. And I'm a huge proponent of being a good steward on the uncle when you're growing up. Yeah . There is nothing that will can make you lose your enjoyment of a trip more rapidly than watching somebody in the face and beautiful scene. Yeah . When you're out in the wild. And S I witnessed that in fact few years ago I was out in Utah and climbed out to arches national park to delicate arch and somebody was actually engraving their name on the orange is what he was watching. It was just honestly very devastating. Yeah. To see just that lack of stewardship. Yeah. Oh, are we have given ? Yeah . Yeah . That's, that's disappointing. But I mean it's very common. So that's why folks like we met this morning that searched her bags, have the job that they do and I appreciate it even though it can be a little frustrating sometimes. And for those who are unprepared, like myself who brought tons of stuff that was in disposable containers, basically everything I had. Um , it is a little frustrating, but , uh, well talking about ever keeping everything you have, why don't you tell me about this dry bag that you have here today ? Um, so I've got , um , it's about a medium size , uh , dry bag , um, that I've got most of my expensive recording gear in and cameras and all that stuff to try to keep dry. And um, it's about , uh , it's a plastic slash canvas type material that's used for , for that particular purpose. And I don't know about you, but , uh , I've got mixed feelings about dry bags. Um, for me, I, I've had only bad experiences with them, which isn't much, it hasn't much experience, but every, every time I've used it. So far I've gotten this stuff inside wet. So what, what's your experience with them ? Um, I have used them extensively. I'm an avid sailor and I've used them a lot. Ansel works cause there's a lot of spray and wind , but , um, there are a challenge to use. The biggest trends that I've faced, especially , uh , sailing is you're typically wet . So then when you go to access stuff in your dry bag , uh, your hand might be damp or wet and so then everything inside your Dre being becomes damp and wet and moisture is pretty much trapped inside there. Yeah. So that's been my experience. Um, but they do, they do serve a good purpose, especially whenever you plan well. Um , and make sure that you have this stuff that you need to access in there. Um, you know, when you access it is at the right time and not in the middle of a torrential downpour, you know , stuff running down your arms and your hands while you're trying to access things inside. I did have two tips on industry when it came to dry bags . Okay. If you're out in the wild and you asked him to get the inside your dry bag wets , especially on a nice warm sunny day, just take the bag, turn it inside out and it dries really quickly. The other tip, when I'm backpacking in an area with bears, I actually will take my dry bag and stuff it with all my food and nights and hang it from a tree. Okay . Um , always make sure it's at least a couple hundred yards from your camp sites . You want the bearers hanging around your food under the tree, not your content . Yeah, yeah , yeah. It really works a lot better in my opinion than a Bay kind of shirt. Not saying that there aren't times you need a big canister . Right. So we should be off of West. Um , and there's a lot of boulders and a few trees or if there's a lot of grizzly bear activity, sometimes the canisters the best option. Yeah. That's a really good suggestion. I hadn't thought about that before and it's , that's going to be a topic we'll discuss later on down the road on this shows a multipurpose items and I'm finding ways to make things work in other, other capacities. And I will probably do that. We're going to head up on the Appalachian trail next week and um , I'll probably end up taking this bag for my, my food sack and use it as a bear bag instead. So good suggestion. Appreciate that. You're welcome. Um, all right , so we're gonna um, we're going to be wrapping up here in a couple of hours . And like I mentioned earlier, we had planned on doing an overnight trip, but since we're stopped for lunch, we can go ahead and talk about this. So on a scale of one stick of beef jerky to um , what was the, what was the mountain house flavor that you like? [inaudible] or like their chicken and mashed potatoes and chicken and mashed potatoes . So on a scale of one stick of jerky too , chicken and mashed potatoes, how confident are you that you could do an overnight trip and catch your dinner? Or would you need to be eating said meal? To be honest with you, I'll be eating, I'll be enjoying my mountain house. And you know , yeah, it was , you'd sit on the bank of a river costing your line and every time you catch a fish, actually I see some right here and the alligator is going to come and snatch it from you before you even pulls you up on the bank. And I'll just be sitting in the bank. Yeah , I was enjoying my meal with a full stomach laughing at me. I love, there's nothing better than after a long day of backpacking or hiking or mountain biking, having a full stomach curl coming up in your nice cozy sleeping bag and going to bed and like, I didn't know when to be hungry on the trail. Yeah, no, I definitely agree with that. Um, I think for me, I would definitely go the same route and make sure I have a backup plan because although I come from a family that's got a reputation of being an outdoorsman, my brother could catch a fish in a bath of, I like to say, but uh, I am not cut out the same qualified. I think I'd be lucky if I could catch a fishing in an aquarium. But, but , uh, I definitely would bring a backup plan, but I would want to do, I would want to try to, to find something that , um, just for the challenge of it. But uh, yeah, I definitely would not be relying on a stick of jerky for sure. Yeah , it'd be a full meal. So I think it'll just depends on like where you're camping or hiking what , um, other rivers there with abundance of lionfish . Yeah. So real quick before we , uh, fully wrap up, once you tell us a little bit about growing up in South Africa and what you experienced out there. Um, well , um , it's a beautiful country, tremendous amount of wildlife, especially in national parks, lot of , um, a lot of game, a lot of predator type animals, like lions, hyenas, things of that nature. Um, one thing that was very different about the national parks in South Africa as opposed to here in America is you can just camp anywhere . It's kind of like Jurassic park. You had these special enclosed areas of electrified fences and you had to be inside them before it was dark outside and then close there after dark. There's a good chance that was your last day. So yeah, I remember like, you know, making sure we always in an enclosed area before dark, we making Oh cam, but man going to bed at night listening to your lion's road , listen to our heinous law . Um, that was phenomenal. I bet. Yeah. Hearing those sounds, but very thankful for being inside my electrified fence. Jurassic park safety barrier includes or , yeah . And then again, during the day, the only time you're allowed out of all those areas is in your vehicle. Okay . You're never allowed outside your vehicle. You , there's no very few national parks you can do actually backpacking and hiking on this year with a armed , um, trail guide. And by armed, I mean huge weapon . Oh wow. Yeah. Okay. Basically a rifle, powerful enough to bring down a bull elephant. Oh wow. Um, yeah. So have you ever had any kind of encounter with , um, big piece of a life like that ? The only crushable and kind of ever had was with the male bull elephants. Okay. And it wasn't my own, I wasn't because of my something that I was doing wrong,Speaker 1:
I was with some friends in the minivan and in the national parks in South Africa, you know, allowed out in the park at nights and during the day you're allowed in the park. As long as you stay with C and your vehicle, you never allowed to exit your vehicle. And then before , uh, before it gets dark, you have to be in one of the designated camping areas, which is protected by this fence. Okay? No , unfortunately in this story, I'm the person driving, the van was running behind schedule, so we were late getting back to a designated camping area and we were rushed and there was a bull elephant next to the road. I mean , came around this corner cross-selling . We probably should have been going. And this bull elephant was standing next to the road and he kind of took a fence at us. So the driver stopped the van because you know, bull elephants are very dangerous. They will trample you to death and your vehicle. Wow. And so we just basically had to sit there and wait for this bull elephant to wonder off. Wow. But unfortunately, this bull elephant that he had no such intention, he kind of kept one foot on the road, essentially saying this road is mine. And every time we tried to approach him, you would turn and flap his ears at us and we were back off . Wow. And now it's gonna to get dark and we need to, and then designate a Canberra . So the driver decides to be a little more aggressive at trying to promise the bull approaches a little closer. And the bull elephant actually starts to charge us. Wow. We're facing this bull elephant and he's charging us head on. That had to be terrifying. Yes. So the driver is freaking out. He puts the vehicle in reverse and pops the clutch, except he doesn't realize any is Hayes . He put the vehicle in first gear and so reverse. Oh wow. So we've got this bull elephant charging at us. He pops the clutch and we go flying forwards instead of backwards. Oh my goodness. It's straight at this ghoul that's charging us now . I don't know, maybe it was better that this happened because what actually happened, the bull wasn't expecting us to come at him. Yeah. And when he saw us come flying towards him, he actually was like, wait a minute, what are you guys doing? You're supposed to be running away from me. Yeah. And so he actually ended up, he stopped right in front of the minivan and then he wanted off into the bushes. But that is , uh , probably the scariest I've ever been with when it comes to African wildlife. That's crazy. I can't even imagine coming across something like that. Um, I've , uh , I've seen animals like that and then a zoo for sure, but kind of that same sense of security behind the walls or the electrified fences. You know , I think what comes back, yeah .Speaker 3:
Like you gotta be a good steward of your environment. You gotta , you gotta know what you're getting into. You gotta be prepared. Um, these types of situations that you can find yourself in. A lot of times the situations where people find themselves and when they get injured or um, don't survive, there was a lot of things that they did wrong leading up to the patients . Yeah. If you're out enjoying the wild and you've very conscientious of what you're doing , um, there's very few situations where you have to fear for your wellbeing. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think it just goes to speak about kind of what we've been talking about already is just anytime that you are engaging in outdoor activity, there are different cautions you have to have on different risks that you have to assess. But , uh , you know, there's, there's a lot of benefit to being outdoors and as long as we're out and about and paying attention and being aware of what's around us and just thinking about the what ifs , um, yeah, there's a lot of enjoyment that can come from spending a little bit of time outside. So. All right , well we're going to , uh , paddle on down a little bit and um , might see some water. Yeah. Hopefully we'll see some more honor. And , uh, I might've known Carl snakes. We might chat a little bit. Remember the , um , I don't know . Five , a red, white and a red, black and yellow sneakers . Dangerous or safe? Black and yellow kill a fellow red and black friend Jack, right ? Yep . You got to see , you're prepared. I'm ready. You're ready for bull elephants? All right , so , um , in case we don't get an opportunity to chat a little bit more, I want to go ahead and do my shameless plug here. So if you haven't already, check out the trail connection podcast , um , Instagram and Facebook page as well as our YouTube channel. We're going to have some really cool content coming out for this episode. Um, having an additional person out and about with me and some extra camera angles. We've got some really cool footage, so be sure to check that out. And , um , also if you haven't already had a chance to check out our Patrion page, please go take a look at that and watch the short video at the beginning that kind of explains what Patrion on is and how you can help support the show if you're a fan. And I deeply appreciate it. Um , I'm already blown away by the amount of support that we've gotten, just being as young as we are. And I'm really, really excited to see how this is going to develop and move and change as we continue to get going. So next week I'll give you a little preview. Um, we are going to be filming on the Appalachian trail. I'm going up with another buddy of mine. Um, we're going to do a couple of days at Springer mountain in Georgia at the trail head and we'll be filming the next two episodes on that trip. So those will be coming up down the line. Well, Tim, thanks so much for having me out today. Yeah, I wanna I wanna thank Joseph for taking the time and , uh , coming out. And this was very special because he was just out in Utah last week taking some time off work. So I definitely appreciate the, the extra time that he's taken to dedicate to this and , um, I've enjoyed it. We're gonna, we're gonna make some cool memories today. And , uh, I'm excited to have you part of the trail connection community. And , uh, thanks again, Joseph [inaudible] today. Tim , I'm Tim Garland. This is the trail connection podcast.Speaker 2: