Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Pellicer Creek, the Heart of Faver-Dykes

Monday April 10, 2017                                                                                   Most Recent Posts:
Faver Dykes State Park                                                                           Nice Surprise at Faver-Dykes
St. Augustine, Florida                                                             Wrapping up Wekiwa: Paddle, Hike, Weigh, Swim

 

Yes I’m back in Virginia but I still have two posts I want to do on our last days in Florida.  This is the first one.

One early morning I drove down to the boat launch and put my kayak in the water to paddle down stream on Pellicer Creek.  I was paddling against the water so that I could have an easy ride back.

 

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It was just a spectacular morning on the water.  So calm, it was like being on a mirror.  I’m still having problems with OLW and Youtube so I can’t get the video to work on the picture or even come up on its own but there is a one minute video if you click this link.  Make it full screen and it’s more fun. Perhaps, if you have never kayaked, it will give you a sense of it.

 

Pellicer is a tidal creek.  It was within an hour of high tide so I imagine the spot where this heron is standing will be a mud flat later.

 

 

I’m surprised to see a loan pelican on the creek.  Somehow I always think of them flying over the Atlantic shoreline.

 

 

This brown pelican lives up to his name.  His brown neck almost looks like rich dark chocolate fur.

 

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It’s not possible to get a tide chart for Faver Dykes, the best I could do was a spot more than two miles away which is not terribly helpful.  Shortly after I launch the tide begins coming in and the speed of it picks up pretty swiftly.  The ocean isn’t far so its power doesn’t take long to get here.

I decide to slip into a side channel to ease up on the paddling.

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The tide does ease up as I go.

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Almost back to that mirror image of earlier. 

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It’s wonderful to see the Tidal Marsh up close as the waterway narrows.

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Eventually it’s clear that it is going to get too narrow and if I go much further I’ll have to paddle backwards out a longer way since there will be no where near to turn my 13’ boat around.    Here I am coming out.

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I’ve reluctantly left my inner marsh exploration.  When I get back on the “creek”, which seems more like a river to me, the tide has increased and so has the wind.   If you want to see and hear it, click this link for the short video.  Full screen is more fun. If I knew anything about editing, I’d have cut out the end of this since I clearly can’t see what I’m looking for.  But I’m lucky to just be able to get it linked.

 

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I allow the tide to turn me around so I’m going with it now rather than against it.  Now I can just sit back and go with the flow.  I can also look at what’s in the sky.

 

 

I am seriously zipping along going back.  Click this link for a video of my holding the camera absolutely still as I move along the shoreline with the tide.  Look mom, no hands!

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Same waves only this time I’m going with them and not against them.  Much easier!

 

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Along the way back I see my pelican friend hunkered down in the grasses.

 

 

In no time the dock is in view but I’m not ready to go in yet.

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So I quick jump onto another little side trail.

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This one doesn’t go very far before I’m out of luck.

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Back to the dock for me unless I want to ride further out with the tide and have to battle it back.  I don’t think so.   When I get here, guess who is on the pole on the far left.   I really don’t think there are two pelicans. 

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He doesn’t flinch when my rudder slams as I pull it up and pick up paddling speed to force  myself as far onto the shore as I can.   He just sits.

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I think he has his eye on me though.  I definitely have mine on him.

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Then he stands up to pose and does some sort of bill aerobics

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When he sees the fisherman come with his boat, the pelican flies over to the dock edge.  I guess this is what he’s been hanging around for.  The possibilities.

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He stays until the very last minute as the boat backs up right next to him and then flies only a little way into the creek.  I don’t stay to see what’s next.  It’s after 11am and I’ve been on the water since early morning.  Time for food!

That’s probably just what he’s thinking too.

 

Luckily I get one more chance to get out on the water this time at low tide rather than high and goin up stream rather than down.  That will be the last paddle for some time unfortunately.

Nice Surprise at Faver-Dykes

April 6 to April 9, 2017                                                                                        Most Recent Posts:
Faver Dykes State Park                                                           Wrapping Up Wekiwa: Paddle, Hike, Weigh, Swim
St. Augustine, Florida                                                           Early Morning Paddle on Wekiwa and Rock Spring Runs

 

 

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I’m sure someone will ask me why in a week at Faver Dykes State Park we didn’t go into St. Augustine. 

So I’ll answer that up front.  Mostly because we had other plans for this time, things we wanted to finish before moving north. 

But also, it’s 20 miles away from here and only biking distance from Anastasia State Park where we often stay when we come in to Florida so we’ve been to St. Augustine each time we’ve been to Anastasia.

 

So what did we do while we were here?   We finished the income taxes.  SIGH!  We finished the wash and wax on Winnona. YEA!!   We hiked their 4 trails the longest of which is 2.8 miles and I had a great surprise. TERRIFIC!   We kayaked Pellicer Creek  (looks like a river to me).  BEAUTIFUL!

 

 

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Although the campground isn’t really big rig friendly with a 2 mile sand entrance road, sand campground road and few level sites, it is sweet.   Only 33 sites and there are several that we can make work for us.  Lots of the sites are sloped from front to back.  We had to use 6 hoss pads last time we were here.  This time I reserved a very big site and we just parked it side to side, no pads needed.  Some campgrounds won’t let you do this but the ranger here hasn’t said a thing.

The sites have 30 amp electric and water.  There is one bathhouse in the middle of the loop.  It is old but well maintained and VERY clean.  David had to wait 2 hours to shower on a Wednesday afternoon because they were doing their “thorough weekly cleaning” which includes acid on the floor.   WOW!

 

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They also seem to allow you to reserve any site you want even the 4 paved handicapped ones.  We had one last time and though they are paved, they still have a slope.  We know because we tried one and that was the 6 horse pad visit.   We have one of those sites next to us this time.  Our neighbor on the paved site gave us a laugh.  We were serious tent campers for at least 30 years and I don’t think we ever pitched on a slab.

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David’s finishing the last of the waxing.  Almost time to start again on the roof.  HA!

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One problem with Faver Dykes is that although it is easy access to I 95, it is midway between shopping exits so for a grocery run we had to drive to Palm Coast 15 miles south or St. Augustine 20 miles north.

Palm Coast worked out great because I wanted to measure a site at Gamble Rogers to make sure we could get in it for late next fall and it is right nearby. The park is very clear on their web site that if you don’t fit, it’s your problem and they cannot guarantee to move you.  Winnona is a 34’ coach they say but actually she measures 34’ 8” so we always call her 35’.  The only site I could get on the water ELEVEN MONTHS in advance is a 34’ site so we checked and we’re good to go. We’ll fit.

Palm Coast also worked out great because there are grocery stores, Walmart AND  Brusters Ice Cream along with about anything else you could want.  All at Exit 289 in Palm Coast.

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Yes we are terrible at selfies but Bruster’s still has yummy ice cream even if they don’t have JMC.

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Like many of Florida’s state parks with the motto “the real Florida”, Faver-Dykes has multiple plant communities shown off by their trails.  Their moderately moist flatwood areas are dominated by my favorite Long Leaf Pine, with some slash pine and pond pine.  The understory is saw palmetto   The areas next to the saltmarsh are maritime hammock with Live Oaks, Laurel Oaks, Red Bay, Red Cedar and Cabbage Palm (Florida’s state tree).  The tidal marsh community parallels the creek and is composed of Smooth Cordgrass and Black Needlerush.  Salt flats at the edge of the marsh support glasswort, saltwort and large numbers of fiddler crabs that attract wading and shore birds. 

I walk through or can see all of these communities.  But to really see the Salt Marsh I’ll have to get in my kayak and paddle through the tidal marsh.  I know, poor me.

I’m told there are 6 other distinct communities in the over 6000 acre park but I’m not certain they are accessible.

The half mile Nature Trail takes off from the campground just around the bend from our site and next to the cute amphitheater.

 

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Which community is this?

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At the farthest point of the loop are two benches over looking the salt marsh and in the distance Pellicer Creek.  Very nice spot to relax, contemplate and enjoy.  Today the marsh is pretty dry.  Not much to see.  But no bugs.  I wouldn’t want to be here in the summer.

 

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Gorgeous puffy clouds day.  The skies here have been really lovely for the entire week.

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 There’s the river in the distance.

 

Lovely Florida White Butterflies are along the trail in numbers.

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On another day I hiked the 2.8 mile Plantation Loop which also has views of the Creek and the Salt Marsh.  No bench here.

 

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I think this is the Southeastern 5 Lined Skink but his tail doesn’t look very blue.  What say you Paula?

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Apparently this is Hemming Point and a kiosk here at the end of the 1.3 mile trail tells about the Native Americans using this area for 2000 years before Europeans brought disease that caused the death of the Timucuans living here. 

16th Century documents of the Europeans described the Timucuans.  They were the last of what was known as the St. John’s People.

Archeology has found at least 3 Plantation Houses on what is now the park.  A picture of one of the houses from a book by John James Audubon shows them to be what we would call farm houses rather than what we think of as the grand southern plantation house.  All 3 “plantations” date from 1770 to 1803.  Each house seems to have been burned in a Seminole Indian war and the property sold to someone else.

 

 

It’s a really lovely spot and I sit for some time on the bench provided just enjoying the quiet and beauty.

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For a while I hear nothing but bird song and then there is a crashing in the woods behind me.  Too big for a squirrel so I turn around on the bench and get my camera ready.   She peeks out from 16 or 17 feet away.

 

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She must have decided I was OK for in a minute or so a fawn still with spots comes out to join her.

 

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And then the first fawn walked off to the right and a second one came out.  Twins!

 

She kept looking back and eventually a third fawn joined them.   I didn’t move a muscle during all of this so the pictures aren’t what I might have gotten had I been able to stand up or at least change positions but you can see the 4 of them through the windfall if you look closely.  Goodness triplets!

 

Eventually she goes back into the woods followed by the three fawns and comes back out in the open space behind my bench near the kiosk.

 

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They head down the path I came in on. 

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There are two fawns in this picture, count the legs.  The third always seemed to be lagging behind.

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When they were almost around the corner, I stood up to watch them leave thinking they were not looking.  Guess I was wrong.  White flags everywhere.

This is most of what we did during our week at Faver-Dykes but we also spent time on Pellicer Creek in our kayaks.  That deserves a post of its own. 

So that will be my last post before we leave Florida and head north.  It must seem like we’ve been here forever.  It definitely does to me.  But, it’s a great place to be warm in the winter.