Panacea

According to the dictionary, Panacea is a solution or remedy for all known ills. For me, a recent visit to Panacea, Florida was just that.

Florida’s “Forgotten Coast,” has been quite unforgettable. From the quiet, calm beauty to the quaint charm of the small town, Panacea was a welcome respite to my otherwise hectic lifestyle.

I don’t normally travel much during the school year. As a school administrator, it’s sometimes hard to get away. But, thanks to a three day weekend, and the overwhelming urge to see some new scenery, my husband James and I loaded up our truck and headed south. We had endured days of rain in Tennessee, along with cold temperatures, and dreary days. We needed to see the sun, so off we went.

Florida did not disappoint temperature wise. We left the 30 degree highs in TN for a more comfortable 70+ degrees. I am pretty sure I felt my bones thaw out once we crossed the Florida state line.

James and I spent our first night in Tallahassee, where we checked in to a newer Hampton Inn. We were both starved after a day full of driving, so what did we do? We hit up one of our favorite fast food places. Popeyes. If you haven’t tried that juicy, spicy deliciousness, don’t knock it. The way I see it, what’s life without risk and a little bit of fried chicken.

On the second day in Florida, James and I met up with a fellow named Robert Baker, from The Wilderness Way in Crawfordville, FL. Robert has an awesome shop that has everything you need for a successful day on the water. If you find yourself in the area, definitely make a stop by The Wilderness Way. Robert and his crew will get you outfitted for whatever type of kayaking adventure you have in mind.

After James and I took a tour of the shop, we all headed off to Panacea.

James and I followed Robert to the salt marsh. Having never kayaked in the marsh before, we were excited and anxious to get the day started. We helped Robert unload his truck and we prepped our kayaks and gear on the bank. The smell of the salt air, the fog hanging over the water combined with the earthy smell of the marsh set the atmosphere for the days adventure. I was in awe of the natural beauty all around us.

James and I hopped in our kayaks and Robert pushed us off the bank. The Jackson Kayak Mayfly I had chosen to paddle slid gracefully into the water. James was paddling a Jackson Liska, a kayak that he already owned back home and was confident paddling. Having never been on the salt marsh, and not really knowing what to expect, I wanted a kayak that was super stable, so the Jackson Mayfly was the right choice for me.

The Mayfly paddled famously and was easy to maneuver in the flat water of the marsh. I took a few minutes and acclimated myself to my new surroundings. I was able to see Redfish tailing out in front of us as we all made our way through the water. It was an incredible sight for sure.

James and I both caught Sea Trout. We were impressed with the feistiness of the fish and the fight they put up. The Sea Trout were considerably larger than the Rainbow Trout we typically catch at home in Tennessee.

Sea Trout also have a pair of teeth. Two front ones to be exact. James was careful to not put his fingers in the mouth of the Sea Trout, and he released the fish after a quick picture.

Our guide, Robert, caught Sea Trout and Redfish. The Reds I sought on this trip definitely eluded me, but being able to see a Redfish for the first time in person was awesome!

Even though I was not able to check off the Redfish from my list of fish I want to catch, James and I had an incredible time fishing the beautiful “Forgotten Coast” of Florida.

Until next time, we will be looking forward to going back and paddling the marsh once more.

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