tcreynolds: (Default)
[personal profile] tcreynolds
I swear I am going to finish this Florida trip report real soon! In the meantime, here's one of my favorite days.

Sunday Wekiva springs

Sam and I didn't shower, we put on our swimsuits and grabbed breakfast things at the local Wawa. There was already a long line to get into the park at 10 in the morning. I was grateful that we had gotten an early start because on busy weekends they close the park when it gets full.

Wekiva Springs is a natural freshwater spring that comes out of the ground and flows into a large pool area. The pool is half tumbledown stacked mossy rocks and half nicely paved retaining wall. There's a wooden walking bridge over where the water exits the pool and begins flowing down a gentle river.

At the river's beginning is a canoe and kayak rental shack and launch area. This is where we headed first because they tend to sell out. We rented a canoe for 1 hour and I sat in the back, being the motor. Sam sat in the front and helped steer. I was worried about tipping and my totebag with phone, but everything was fine. We pushed off, keeping an eye on the clock. The river is wide enough so that the current is very gentle, but I didn't want to get caught a long way downstream with sore arms. (There was a sign at the rental shack, "The river does not go in a circle! However far you go down, you must come back up!")

It was busy on the river, but we had plenty of quiet moments to look at the scenery. I set a leisurely pace, stopping often to drift and admire the views. We saw loads of turtles and fish, basking, swimming and feeding. We saw a few gators sunning themselves near the banks, mostly hiding in the plants and water. We didn't see any frogs or snakes, but apparently there had been a water moccasin hanging out near the boat launch. Rangers relocated it.

There's a larger open area with lots of water lilies. Looking down at the bottom, we saw some kind of catfish had made nests and were defending them.

We had hats, sunblock, and longsleeved white shirts. Whenever Sam would complain about how hot she was, I'd splash her with the paddle...well I did it once, but she wiggled too much and I thought we'd tip, so I had to stop.

We came to another spring-fed river flowing into ours, it had a sign with the name on it...we tried going up that river just to see what it was like, but the current was too strong.

Then it was time for swimming! Sam was excited to go snorkeling and she's getting good at it. Her swimfins wouldn't stay on her feet, but she had fun anyway. In one of the quieter corners of the pool area, a large school of guppy-like fish was hanging out near the surface. You could swim amongst them, lots of fun, my favorite. A handful of people were swimming near the springs' outlet, diving down into the cave to see how far they could get before the current pushed them back out. We swam until Sam got chilled, then we got out for a thaw and lunch break. (Gators don't like the cold spring water so they don't come up into the pool area.)

On our way out of the park we stopped by the small nature center. A guide was giving a talk about turtles vs. tortoises and let people touch the gopher tortoise. There was a penny stamping machine there, so Sam picked out a design. While we were doing that, the guide put the tortoise away (where it started to devour a hibiscus flower and a strawberry) and got out a baby alligator. After putting a band around its snout, he let people touch the gator. Sam was thrilled. I marvelled at the delicate feet and hands with the strange spur-like claw at the wrist.

Then we stopped at Whole Foods for an early dinner and some groceries. A thundershower poured down while we ate outside under shelter.

Date: 2017-05-05 06:21 pm (UTC)
okojosan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okojosan
Sounds like fun! This isn't one of the manatee areas? Or are those areas blocked off so people can't swim with them?

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