To me the Myakka River is like the Montana of padding trips, Big Sky’s. We had a great group of hearty paddlers unphased by the heat or the gators. We put in at the lake above the weir. There is a bypass around the weir now so no portaging around or over it. The river moves slowly as it snakes its way through marsh grasses. The marsh area is a large open basin. On the higher ground around the marsh there are majestic old live oaks filled with the grey beards of Spanish Moss. But mostly dominating the border of the marsh are tall Sabal Palms that frame the marsh like low mountains. There was a good number of gators around but not as many as some previous trips. A few wading birds were around along the main part of the river. But there was a large flock of mixed birds in the middle of the marsh, including, Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret, Tri Colored Egret, Grey Egret, ibis, and one I have never seen a Black Bellied Whistling Duck.