Posted by: sunnyharvy | January 22, 2017

Wandering About Central Florida

We have been enjoying northern and central Florida much more than we expected to. There are numerous rivers to paddle, countless paths to hike, and many trails to bike. One would need to spend a lifetime here to do them all justice. With just a few months to spend, we are seeking the ones that most appeal to us. For paddling we prefer narrow, winding rivers with clear water. For hiking our favorite paths are relatively flat and not too long. We have found that many rail trails converted for biking are often straight and boring, so we search for other types. Florida has it all for the outdoor oriented visitor, that’s for sure!

Florida is also loaded with natural springs. At Wakulla Springs, the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring, we took an educational boat tour.

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Vultures roost in live oak trees above spring.

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LOTS of gators here!

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Anhingas typically spear fish through their sides with a rapid thrust of their partially opened bill. This one is drying its wings in the sunshine.

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Dense jungle surrounds the river the spring feeds.

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Another fine specimen. Glad we’re not paddling here.

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OK, that’s enough gator photos.

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Hollywood visited the springs many times. The first film shot at the Springs was “Tarzans Secret Treasure” in 1941. In 1954 the underwater scenes for the 3D film “Creature from the Black Lagoon” were filmed.

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The Wakulla Springs Lodge has an interesting history. Click link if you want to read about it.

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Ornate hand-painted ceilings in the lobby, incredible slabs of Georgia marble throughout, and the oldest operating Art Deco elevator in the south (that I somehow failed to take a photo of). We did enjoy an ice cream cone at the old fashion soda fountain.

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A relic from the good ol’ days in White Springs, our next stop.

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Baby, mommy, and daddy chairs?

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The Suwanee River runs through White Springs on it’s amazing journey.

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Museum to the “the father of American music,” Stephen C. Foster in the state park bearing his name. This too is in White Springs.

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This tower, erected to honor Stephen Foster, contains the world’s largest tubular carillon. It plays some of Foster’s tunes four times a day.

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We biked the entire length of the Woodpecker Trail in the nearby Big Shoals State Park.

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All to ourselves…lovely.

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Our next destination of note…Itchetucknee Springs State Park.

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These words helped us decide to make the most of our visit…under and above the crystal clear water.

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We dug out the snorkel gear and dove into the 72 degree spring.

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Looks like a swimming pool with grass, eh?

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That deep hole to the left is where the spring emanates.

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The next day we launched the kayaks a bit further down stream.

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Paddling the Ichetucknee River.

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Beaver den, didn’t see any of the critters though.

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Turtles galore.

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Lots of birds too.

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Al trying to get a movie of this one taking off.


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Responses

  1. Blackwater River!!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. That’s the Florida that I love! We have 3 springs here at Lake George, Salt Springs, Silver Glenn and Juniper. They are heavily populated on the weekends with families and party people but during the week they are usually quite nice.
    Silver River is Crystal Clear, narrow and has monkeys.🐒

  3. Snorkeling in warm, not salty water……cool!

  4. So fun to see your photos! Anhingas, turtles, vultures, love the underwater photos!! Gators – ugh. I realize how I need to get more into nature, but I did just return from a great retreat near Sequoia at which I presented on Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Will – presencing to allow the best of the future to emerge through us. What you are doing is so soulful.


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