Kayaking Shingle Creek in Kissimmee, FL

 Shingle Creek. They say it is the headwaters of the Everglades. Somewhere in the suburbs of Orlando, Shingle Creek begins in what appears to be nothing more than a drainage canal. The water accumulates, becoming a natural looking river in the Hunter's Creek area. If flows like past all of the tourism of US192 and Kissimmee, eventually reaching Lake Tohopekaliga. Which then leads to the Kissimmee River. The water eventually reaches Lake Okeechobee, then finally ending up in the Everglades. 

I have taken hikes along Shingle Creek in various areas, but this would be my first adventure kayaking on the river. I launched from Shingle Creek Regional Park at Steffee Landing on 192. Years ago, probably sometime in the 90s, this very same launch offered airboat rentals. As a kid, I rode in a small airboat in this part of the river. Seems like putting tourists in control of their own airboats in this part of Shingle Creek seems completely unnecessary and potentially dangerous idea. Those airboats are long gone, but they rent kayaks and canoes in their place. I brought my own kayak so I didn't need their rental service.
Kayak at Shingle Creek
The Steffee Landing launch is located in the middle of Shingle Creek that's marked by stop signs. I paddled upstream first, all the way to where the paddling trail ended. From here, I turned around and floated downstream.

Do not enter sign along Shingle Creek

Passed under a pedestrian bridge along a trail connecting the various parts of Shingle Creek Park. This was near Babb Landing.
Ibis seemed to be the most common form of wildlife I observed along the river. They were all over the trees and shallow waters of Shingle Creek.
Shingle Creek crossing under 192. There was a large alligator hanging out in the shade both times I crossed under the bridge. 
Shingle Creek crossing under 192
Steffee's Landing has some recreations of historic homes along the river. The sign described this log cabin as Steffee Family Cabin, built in 1880.
Steffee Family Home
Another pedestrian bridge crosses Shingle Creek, just past the cabin.
Soon, the river opens up wide with various docks connected to parts of Shingle Creek Park, along with what appears to be private homes.
Shingle Creek got fun once it narrowed again. The river entered a flooded cypress forest with shallow tannic water flowing swiftly through trees.
Shingle Creek Cypress Forest

Shingle Creek Cypress Forest

Kayak in Shingle Creek Cypress Forest
After paddling through the trees for a while, I reached the stop sign at the downstream end of the paddling trail. I've heard people continue past the stop sign in their own boats into the unmaintained section of river where there's apparently rapids. I didn't want to risk get lost among the cypress trees if the trail was unmarked or test out my cheap kayak's abilities with faster water, so I turned around and paddled back to the launch. 
Stop at Shingle Creek
Here's a video of the paddle. It starts at the upstream stop sign and proceeds down river until I turned around:
This was a very enjoyable paddle. It reminded me I need to get out and explore more of Florida's waterways that I've been hearing about for years but never actually explored properly. That, and I can now say I've kayaked the very beginning of the Everglades.