After such a really wonderful paddle on the Silver River yesterday (blog post here), we decide to press our luck and drive up to Alexander Springs to kayak its spring run. Those who follow along know that we intended to be at Salt Springs for this week but ended up at Silver Springs instead (blog post here). The main reason for Salt Springs was to Kayak the Salt Spring and Alexander and Juniper Runs.
We’ve ruled out Juniper after reading the reviews which indicate it is a difficult paddle described as a narrow curvy run with the potential of portaging over downed trees. In my opinion, that kind of kayaking is best done in short light weight boats. We have done Salt Springs several times previously so we’ll leave that that for another time when it’s easier to get a site there because it isn’t March or April. It’s all OK, we’ll just have to make fewer car trips from Silver Springs which suits me fine.
We put the kayaks on the car and head up to up to Alexander Springs about 40 miles away. There is not a soul in the parking lot when we arrive. Cool!
The distance between the nice pull up spot to drop off your kayaks and the put in is about 1/4 the distance of Silver Springs. At Silver Springs you really do need a cart to put in at the campground unless there are two of you to carry one very light kayak. But Alexander Springs has you covered. They provide carts for you to roll down the paved, not sand, path. They don’t provide straps to secure your boat but with care, you don’t need them on a paved service.
There is a mist rising off the water as we approach the boat ramp. This is a picture of the edge of the picnic and springs swimming area.
The dock is very nice and very big which indicates lots of use. Hope it’s mostly in the summer. HA!
Usually I get pictures of David launching but today he is first in the water as I head out from the dock. Not another soul in sight.
Nobody on the beach or in the water at the springs which is roped off from the kayak launch area. At 72 degrees, I think the springs might be mighty fine at this time of morning with no one else around.
What a beautiful day as we leave the spring behind us and set off down the spring run.
The water is crystal clear.
We haven’t gone very far when David spots this flash of yellow in the trees. What a find. It’s a darling prothonotary warbler.
There are two of them flitting around in trees. They are brilliant yellow/orange, depending on the light, and prefer southeastern wooded swamps.
They are really striking with their head and chest such a deep yellow orange and their black eyes and beak.
Seeing them bodes really well for this paddle.
Paddling on down the run I see above me a flock of white birds. Not sure who they are but now days one does not often see a group of birds overhead unless they are vultures.
Down on the water an anhinga is drying its wings.
The little blue heron gives me a face on look as I float past.
The cute little grebe is sailing through the sunlight as the turtles crawl up on logs to bask.
This guy apparently has been swimming through some slimy spots
I’m paddling along between the increasing splatterdock and the tall grasses when I hear the unmistaktable cry of the limpkin. Boy are they loud. Sounds like a very unhappy baby or a woman in serious distress
Sure enough I spot her. Do you?
Chuck and Anneke commented on the Silver River Post that they love watching turtles and David wondered why it’s never “Look Dad no hands” so here’s another one who might be saying “Look DAD, no hands and no feet”.
Did you know turtles had such long dangerous looking claws? I sure didn’t.
Things are getting a bit crowded out here on the run. Very narrow lanes through the vegetation. Difficult paddling if you don’t stay on the trail.
Ok so where is the path??
I spot another quiet limpkin in the abundant spadderdock.
At this point there is just too much vegetation for me. Too much work. Not enough fun anymore and I decide to turn around and head back. David continues on.
Once I’m back into the less conjested area of the river I see this double crested cormorant who apparently hasn’t been fishing lately since he looks completely dry.
Suddenly in flies an osprey who has been fishing. He lands in a tree just in front of me with his catch.
I get these shots as I drift by.
What are you looking at?
As I get nearer the park the boats coming down stream increase. This cormorant got scared into running across the water to get himself into the air. Talk about walking on water.
Although David didn’t get to see the osprey with his catch, he did see two things that I missed and got these pictures of the hard to photograph kingfisher, love his hairdo, and an alligator gliding stealthily along.
From the dock where I pull out my kayak, I can look over to the spring and boy have things changed. Remember those pictures of this area from this morning when we launched?
I’m back before David so after putting my kayak up on the car I head back down to the springs and take a swim. My cameraman was otherwise engaged so no picture. There are a fair number of people in the spring but many more in the picnic area or on the beach.
It’s not too long before David returns and we are on our way. The parking lot which was completely empty when we arrived tells the story now. Repeat after me. Come early, leave early, unless you love a party atmosphere with 100 or so of your new best friends.
We’re headed home for an early dinner but life is short. Dessert first so we stop off at Bruster’s. Remember they made JMC for us though they didn’t put it on the menu. Maybe it really is only for us.
Sorry for the glare on the menu. Hope you can read all the flavors.
It is absolutely delicious!! Coconut ice cream with fudge, and almonds! Who could ask for anything more!!
Although I would have liked to eat them both, I didn’t.