Today we pack up and move from Silver Springs State Park near Ocala to Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida. It’s only about 80 miles but there’s no direct route there so we have to take the turn, turn , turn method on State and County Roads. You know the one….go 1.2 miles and turn right then go 3.3 miles and turn left, then 6.1 miles and right……………….
We have been to many of Florida’s State Parks with Springs and I can’t compliment Florida enough for saving and protecting so many of these wonderful places. Wekiwa is one we’ve visited and kayaked before but we have never actually stayed in their campground so we are looking forward to it.
We arrive and have little time to set up before the rains begin. The check out of the campground hike will have to wait until tomorrow.
Today is Wednesday, so David has to go to a Florida Cancer Specialists clinic for treatment. Thank heavens for their network of clinics and for Dr. David Wright who arranges his treatment while we hop around the state in the winters. If you should ever need a hematologist go directly to Florida Cancer Specialists in Tampa. You’ll be in wonderful hands. We can never thank him enough for all he has done to allow us to continue our full timing life style despite David’s serious illness.
We haven’t really set anything up yet when I take this first picture of our site. We will do that when David returns. But you can see this site is quite large and nicely shaded. We happen to be in what was probably designed as a set of buddy sites since they are close together but many other sites have nice distances between them.
I walk both the campground loops and find that I like the one we are in best even though the other one has full hook ups and this one does not.
The kayak put in here is much too far away to walk your kayak to although there is a nice trail that leads to the springs. It is a sandy wooded narrow trail and not suitable even for a kayak cart. I hike over and find that even when we drive our car to the closest parking spot, we will have to have carts to get the kayaks down there. That’s OK since I only intend to take mine down once. You can see that the concessionaire does a very good business in canoe rentals. I’ll obviously be going out early in the morning, hopefully before the park even opens.
I take the bridge over to the spring area from the kayak launch. Folks are in the water. It’s about 10am by now.
The spring has a bit of a swimming pool look about it. The banks directly around the spring are not natural but it is a beautiful area just the same.
In the afternoon we take the kayaks over and on the way we are lucky enough to see a gopher tortoise right by the side of the road. The designs on her shell are beautiful. It is clear where the Native peoples derived their pottery and weaving patterns.
This is the perfect habitat for the gopher tortoise since, like Silver Springs, it is also long leaf pine habitat. On the walk over this morning I found that the area has been recently burned which is necessary to keep the long leaf pine habitat in good health. It’s just amazing that the pines, palms and palmettos all spring back to life. It looks pretty black just now.
This morning I talked to the park manager about getting permission to lock our boats up to the parks one rack. All the others are owned by the concessionaire. So we take the kayaks over on the car and cart them down to lock them up. We have not used our kayak lock in quite some time since we have been taking the boats off and putting them directly back on the car. I made the mistake of allowing it to stay in behind my seat in my kayak and somehow it has been sitting in water and will not open. David tries a number of things but they don’t work. He is not a happy camper. Another thing that needs fixing.
I go back to Winnona and bring back one of our bicycle locks. The kayaks are now ready for tomorrow morning when we plan to get out on the river.