Pre Trip and End of Trip Information
Check-in: Canoe Outpost has two offices for check-ins. The year 'round Arcadia office (day and overnight runs) and the part-time Gardner office (overnight only). All day runs and some of the overnight runs end in Arcadia so you check-in there. If you are doing the Brownville or Gardner Runs as overnight, check-in at Arcadia. The popular Zolfo Springs Run/19.5 and a few other overnight runs end in Gardner but that office is seasonal and open only during busy times. You always park there, but don't always check-in there. When you make your reservation, you need to double check which office to go to. Some trips end in Arcadia, some end in Gardner. No matter what the trip, you park your vehicle in either Arcadia or Gardner and there are no end of bus trips.
Once you are here: At either office, always leave your coolers and gear at your vehicle before coming to the office to check-in. Do not unpack your vehicle unless instructed to. The bus will leave from the parking lot that your vehicles are parked in after check-in. Buses will usually move around the parking lot picking everyone up.
Everyone needs to come to the office unless you are with a group (see group info below). Everyone who can see over the check-in counter must read and sign the release. Spouses cannot sign for each other. Sorry, our insurance company doesn't care that you sign each others paychecks or on each other's credit card elsewhere, they need you to sign your own name and only your name. If you have Power of Attorney, then be prepared to produce the letter granting Power of Attorney.
Everybody has to have a lifejacket (Federal law). If kids can't see over the counter they usually need to be fitted with lifejacket. Kids, 90 lbs. and under, must be fitted with a lifejacket and they are handed out at check-in. Kids, under six, must always have their jacket on while the boat is underway. Adult jackets (orange horse collars) and paddles are already on the bus as well as one boat cushion per person.
Seatback rentals are available at check-in. They are not at the put-in or on the bus; you must pick them up at the office and load them yourselves or carry them with you. We suggest you keep your seatbacks with you, other folks might accidently pick them up. Fishing poles should be carried too so they don't get broken or accidentally hook something. Do not load anything on a bus unless instructed to by a staff member. You pay first, and then load. Once the gear is loaded, staff members will get a head count to make sure we have everybody and then it's off to the river.
Groups: A group (10 canoes or more or a mini-group) will have a group leader and a group sign-up. We only deal with the group leader at check-in. Individuals within a group that wish to pay separately (credit card or cash) will be charged full price and depending on the number of canoes/kayaks, the group may lose their discount. Group leader handles the check-in. If the group leader does not order seatbacks for the entire group then you need to come to the office and rent your own, see above. Kids need to come to the office for lifejackets, see above.
Kayaks: Solo sit-on-top, tandem (2-seater) and cockpit kayaks are also available. All kayaks are priced the same as a canoe. You must have a reservation for kayaks on weekends because we run out of them. Kayaks have no storage so they aren't good for overnight trips except for solo paddlers. They're great when there's a third person (camping gear goes in the canoe). Or...as a solo paddler, rent a tandem (2-seater and put your camping gear in the front). We need plenty of advanced notice on kayak rentals because the kayaks need to be loaded on the racks or in the bus.
Arcadia Pre-Trip and End of Trip Notes:
Peace River Campground: If you are with a group camped at the campground next door, let the office know, we can arrange to have the buses pick you up in the back parking lot of the Outpost if you are not camped in the Wilderness Area. That way you can carry your coolers over thru the "walk through" gate and don't have to drive. If you have a lot of coolers, you might send them over in a vehicle or two. Again, the buses can pick you up closer to your campsite, just let us know.
Return Time: During Daylight Savings Time, return time is 6:00 p.m. Not Daylight Savings Time? Plan on being back by 5:00 p.m. because it is dark by 6.
Paddle up to the floating dock, staff will be there to help or ring the big bell. Staff will assist you. Grab your gear and trash. There is usually a trashcan right on the dock and on weekends, there is a trashcan and recycle cans up a few steps from the floating dock. Exit off the floating dock and head up the ramp to the left. There's a wooden platform at the top and across the drive, picnic tables. Leave your gear there and pull your vehicles up to the platform to load up. If you're parked in the back parking lot, turn left. If you're parked in the front lot, walk straight ahead towards the gate.
Gardner Pre-Trip and End of Trip Notes: If it is a busy weekend, you will go straight to the Gardner office to check-in. The Arcadia office will instruct you as to which office to check-in at when you make your reservation. All trips check-in at Arcadia on weekdays, Sundays, if it's not that busy, or if you were instructed to when you made your reservation. If you don't want to come to Arcadia for check-in, then you can meet the bus in Gardner by pre-paying (see pre-pay info below) if you check-in at Arcadia, you load your gear on the bus in Arcadia, then follow the bus to Gardner. Once in Gardner, you park your vehicle, jump on the bus, and we transport you to Zolfo Springs or farther north to start your trip. You load in Arcadia and not in Gardner because the schedule dictates the bus leaves Arcadia at 8:00 then leaves Gardner at 8:30. Bus needs to follow this schedule or else the schedule for the rest of the day is shot. If it is a busy weekend, the Gardner office will open on a Saturday and the occasional Friday before a holiday but you need to confirm with the office. Do not head to Gardner for check-in unless instructed to. Check-ins at Gardner are dependent on water levels and if the upper stretch is busy. For large groups, we can arrange to meet in Gardner and pay there. Call 800-268-0083 for details.
Pre-Pay: Pre-paying is an option for those upper river overnighters not wanting to come to Arcadia to check-in. We will fax or e-mail you the forms for completion. You then fax the completed forms back to us by the day before the trip. The bus will meet you in Gardner so you can load your gear, then the bus will take you to Zolfo Springs. But, when the bus gets to Gardner to pick you up, you must be ready to load. Move your vehicles to the main parking lot by the bus and load immediately. There will be usually other customers who have already loaded and ready to go, please don't hold the bus up.
Return Time: If there aren't many canoes coming in at Gardner on the ending day of your trip, the return time will be between 2 p.m. or 4 p.m., we'll determine that when you check-in. During busy season and Daylight Savings Time, return time is 6:00 p.m. Not Daylight Savings Time? Plan on being back by 5:00 because it's dark by 6:00. The 5:00 and 6:00 return times apply to the Arcadia take-out too.
At the end, beach your canoe/kayak at the beach. The front person hops out to pull the boat up. Tell your paddling partner to sit still as you pull the canoe/kayak up farther. Take all your gear out and stack it at the top of the hill where you can pull your vehicle over to it to load up. Please do not attempt to back down the beach. Leave the Outpost gear in the canoe/kayak, staff will take care of it. Don't forget to get your trash out of the canoe/kayak. Bags of trash go up the beach and piled next to the big wooden post on your right at the top of the beach. Restrooms and shower are behind the big canoe cage, just follow the drive and take a sharp right at the cage and follow the path over the little bridge. Restrooms are the set of steps on the left, seasonal office is the set of steps on the right. When you are ready to leave, circle around the drive away from the canoes. Follow the drive thru two gates, turn right onto River Road. Follow River Road to US 17. Turn right to head to Arcadia, turn left to head north.