It is really confusing around here with the different spellings of the spring – Wekiwa and the river – Wekiva. I’ve asked around and everyone agrees that it’s a mess but no one really knows why. I looked it up on that infallible source, the internet, and found one story about Native American words for boiling water and flowing water but historians apparently have disproved that since local tribes had no V sound in their language. The historians seem to agree that it was the developers who messed everything up when they didn’t like the sound of WekiWA. Whatever…….it does get confusing. To get to WekiWA Springs State Park you take WekiVA Springs road. sheesh!
Today we go down to the boat dock in WekiWA Springs State Park to launch our boats into the WekiWA Springs Run to kayak the WekiVA River.
But we go one at a time. Me earlier. Him later.
I’m out on the water at sunrise. The park isn’t open yet. I’m the only person around. This is the way I love to kayak.
There is a low mist on the water.
The white hot blaze in the sky bleaches the colors. This makes it difficult for me to be sure I see what I think I see and even more difficult to get pictures of the otters crossing back and forth in front of my boat and hissing at me. My camera can’t find them in the mist and when it does, they are gone. These are just simply terrible pictures but they are all I have and it was so exciting and so wonderful to paddle around with them even if I did make them mad. Sorry guys you are just too terrific! So for my memory…….a few terrible pictures.
I float on down the river. The spring run is slow as you can see from the minor ripples along side my boat.
What a great morning. I float by several Green Herons. This one along the water doesn’t move at all until I’ve passed him and then he takes off only to land further down stream where I pass him again.
The Wekiwa Spring Run is slightly less than a mile before it meets the Rock Spring Run which empties into it and the pace picks up…………..slightly.
There’s the turn if you want to paddle up the Rock Springs run. That’s on my agenda, but not for this morning. Rock Spring Run and the Wekiwa Spring Run come together to form the Wekiva River at this point. Both Spring Runs and the River are part of a 27 mile designated Florida Canoe Trail. There are primative campsites along the way if you want to make a multiple day paddle which I would really love to do if I could get myself organized enough.
Not too far beyond the confluence of the Spring Runs the river goes under a bridge and comes to a private concessionaire spot on the river. You can launch your kayak from here if you don’t have wheels and don’t want to tote your boat by hand down to the state park boat launch.
This morning the Wekiva Island cabanas and chairs are empty. Too early. The sun, though white hot hasn’t warmed it up quite enough I suppose. It’s about 68 now on its way to 88 today so I imagine by the time I return the folks will be here to spend the day.
A short distance beyond Wekiva Island I come upon this “house boat” and attached pontoon boat docked along side.
Doesn’t look like the house has any motor so I guess it would be called a barge?? Perhaps the pontoon towed it to this spot. No one is around and from my kayak, I can’t see the land side entrance to this little house on the water but I love the reflections.
I paddle a little and float a lot.
I hear the limpkins screaming all along the way.
I paddle around the Buffalo Run Primitive Campsite which is the 5th of the campsites available by reservation for over night paddles. I’ve come perhaps 3 miles. I’ve been out two and half hours before turning around. The combined flow of the two springs is still relatively gentle for my paddle back which takes only an hour and a half.
On the way back an alligator glides across the water just in front of my boat and slips along side the bank.
More limpkins calling.
A great blue heron is also out along the banks as I paddle back up stream.
Such a beautiful river.
I know I’m in the last mile of my paddle when I come upon the little house again.
Things have picked up at Wekiva Island.
When I paddle past, I notice this sign and also all the people with beer and mixed drinks in their hands. Obviously there is a bar here and it must be the source of a lot of the revenue although you can rent the cabanas which have soft cushy furniture. Not sure how they handle rain. You can also rent canoes and kayaks. There is a launch fee of $10.
Directly across from some of the bikini clad young women in the chairs is a juvenile little blue heron paying no attention to any of us.
Back in the Wekiwa Spring run I pass a black crowned night heron.
Ever since I passed the little house on the water, more boats have passed me coming down stream as I paddle up. They are just starting out and I am finished. Perfect in my world.
One of those coming out is David. Left to our own devices, he gets on the river much later than I. He doesn’t mind sharing it with lots of others apparently.
I pull the kayak up to the put in and get it back up on the racks before heading over to the spring for lunch and a swim.
I’ve brought my lunch so after a quick dip in the water, I eat and read while more and more people come to enjoy the 70 degree water temperature.
By mid afternoon when David returns, there are lots of folks in the water including him.
Pretty sweet spot. How wonderful to have the spring, its run and river all within walking distance of our home. It’s a mile walk on a very nice path. What a fabulous extended back yard. I could spend a lot of days just like this.