1) Where are you from? Your Profession? I was born and raised in rural Connecticut, and now live in Panama City, Florida. Almost all of my adult life has been spent as a drug abuse counselor, working in both outpatient and inpatient facilities and teaching counseling for six years.
2) When and how did you become interested in paddling? Summer camp at age 11 was my introduction to paddling and I've loved it ever since. I have a solo canoe and a sea kayak, and both get a lot of use.
3) Where is your favorite place to paddle? Here in Panama City, I often paddle in St. Andrews Bay. There is a nice place to put the kayak in the water and I paddle along the undeveloped shoreline of Tyndall Air Force Base out toward Redfish Point. There are a couple of bayous along the route and miles of soft sandy beaches to stop and rest. I often see dolphins, ospreys, and eagles when I paddle there.
4) What's the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? "Interesting" does not mean "pleasant." When I lived in Alaska, some friends and I were paddling the Gulkana River over Labor Day weekend. It was sunny and warm the day we left and none of us were really prepared for cold weather. It got freezing, it snowed, the river froze, and one 12-year-old boy went hypothermic on us. It was very scary. We found a place to beach the boats, made camp and a big fire, got some hot soup in him, and he came right around. We had to push that three-day trip in two days.
5) How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where? Five great Paddle Florida trips: two on the Suwannee, twice down the length of the Ochlockonee River, and one on the south Withlacoochee.
6) What keeps you coming back? All the trips are well-planned and well-run. There's always good food, and I enjoy meeting old friends and making new ones.
7) Can you describe a particular Paddle Florida trip highlight? The incredible food on the first Suwannee River trip. Oh, and then there was the night on the Withlacoochee when the temperature dropped to 24 degrees and everyone's tent was covered in ice in the morning!
8) What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? GO! Plain and simple. Just GO! Join the fun. The logistics are taken care of, so it's a nice way for someone to get introduced to multi-day kayak cruising and camping.