The unfortunate drought in Northern Florida has rendered long sections of the St Mary’s and the Suwannee Rivers to be very low, in some places even without water.   This has completely messed up Stage4 of the Ultimate Florida Challenge, making it almost impossible to complete as originally designed, and requiring some changes to the rules to allow participants to figure out how to make it work.

Picture taken by JollyRoger (Roger Mann) on his UFC scouting trip in November 2011, see his blog report here.

Chief of WaterTribe has now relaxed the rules completely for Stage 4, leaving competitors to decide what their own goals are for this section of the challenge.  He calls this relaxation of the official rules the ‘Daniel Boone Option”.

In a recent posting on the WaterTribe Forum, he says:

“You all can handle stage 4 pretty much any way you want that makes sense for your goals and your adventure. Heck, if your adventure allows you to flag down a passing pickup truck and hitch a ride along the way between Traders Hill and White Springs, I won’t say a word. Daniel Boone would be proud.”

My response, on forum, “WTF”,  was a bit rude.  It can’t be easy for Chief trying to organize a challenge when Mother Nature has thrown a huge curve ball, rendering many of the participants needing to ask for special considerations.   Participants spend a lot of time, energy and money to plan for this Challenge; he has been forced to be more accommodating, in order to keep the Challenge alive.

Needless to say this is wreaking havoc with Alan’s and my plans.  We had been working really hard to figure out how to do this Challenge in a Class 5 (multihull) trimaran.   This in itself is a bit different, since the Challenge was likely originally designed for kayak and canoe.  Interest among larger mono hull (class4) and mulit-hull’ers in the Challenge forced a slight change of rule to allow a boat switch on the Rivers, yet we still felt our “Mosquito” could handle the Rivers and we could paddle it.

Our latest concession is to switch boats.  Our trimaran would really only work for the entire Challenge under fairly normal River conditions, it is too heavy and with a draft that will be completely impossible to manage given the current River levels.

So I’ve been working hard trying to figure out our best options for the Rivers, and the portage, canoe vs. kayak, and who would lend us one that would hold the bike(s) for the portage.    Now with the newest and complete relaxation of rules, I may need to go back to the drawing board, as this could change things somewhat.

Need to talk to Alan to decide what we want to do.  So many decisions stay tuned.