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Early Morning Paddle on Wekiwa and Rock Spring Runs

Tuesday March 28, 2017                                                                       Most Recent:
Wekiwa Springs State Park                          Wekiwa Springs State Park: Campground, Trails, Spring, Local Residents
Opopka, Florida                                                                          Walking Down the Berm

 

 

It’s a beautiful morning when I slide into the water before sunrise.  The fog is lifting off the water.   The spring’s current takes me across the pond and down the run.

 

 

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It’s hard to see anything in front of me as the sun comes up and shines right in my eyes.

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But I can definitely hear the loud noise long before I can see him.  At first I think it’s an airplane but it sounds like it’s coming toward me.  I’m shocked to hear this on a still, quiet, foggy morning.  I was expecting peace and tranquility.  Once the air boat appears out of the fog I can see he is spraying hydrilla.  This infasive weed is the bane of many rivers and lakes pushing out native species and closing the water way.   Still it’s a shock to the quiet of the morning..

 

 

As he goes by and I’m looking away from the sun he’s easier to see clearly.   Those boats are just deafening.   They have a lot of them in the Everglades.  I’ve never ridden one because I just can’t stand the noise even with hearing protectors.

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After the air boat finally fades away a little green heron flies in next to me as I float by.

 

In front of me a small alligator swims from one side of the run to the other.

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He slides into the spadderdock without a sound.  Can you see him hiding in the second picture?

 

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The Wekiwa Spring Run ends as the Rock Spring Run comes in on the left between those two signs..  At this point, together they form the beginning of the Wekiva River.   That’s not a spelling mistake but it sure is confusing.  The most common explanation for the W and V is that Wekiwa means “spring of water” and Wekiva means “flowing water” in the Creek Indian language.   It’s definitely confusing.

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Time to stop floating and start paddling.  I turn left up the Rock Spring Run against the flow of the water.

 

 

 

 IMG_1647I haven’t gone very far when I spy a limpkin fishing.  I took a great video of it which I tried to put in here and would sure like some help from those of you who have added videos using  Live Writer with what I’m doing wrong.  In Live Writer I click Video.  I try using the “From Your Computer” choice.  I fill out all the blanks and when I give it my YouTube login and password it replies “Blogger returned the following error: Not found: Not found” even though I was logged into my YouTube account. 

When I try to add it using the From A Video Service Account option in Live Writer, I get the same Not found error on my login and password.

 

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So I up load it to YouTube, no problem.  I publish it.  It gives me an address.  I choose From the Web in Live Writer and insert it.  It comes up as this little white box with a red X.  

When I sent the link to David, he was able to bring it up so perhaps I’ll just put the link on the picture on the right here.  I really do want you to have the chance to see him as I did when I pulled over to sit out of the current for a while.  Click the picture and the nearly 2 minute video should come up in a separate window.  Let me know if it works for you.  How do I get that nice red arrow?

If anybody knows what’s up with any of this, please let me know and I’ll edit this post.  How in the world do you all get videos in your posts without all this trouble.  Obviously I don’t know what I’m doing.  But then, what else is new??

 

Back to the paddle.  

The Rock Spring Run is absolutely beautiful and usually very quiet except on weekends so there are a lot of birds fishing especially now as the water here is very low.

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A Great Egret and a Great blue Heron share a branch onto which they flew when I paddled by.  It’s hard not to scare them if you can’t stop paddling or you’ll float back down stream.

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Just in case you didn’t notice them in the picture above with the whole river.

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The shallow water is great for the wading birds but not good at all for paddlers especially since it makes the power of the spring stronger but you can only dip your paddle in or you hit the sand.

 

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After what I later learn is just over 4 miles, I pull off for a break and then turn around and float back down.  The river is very narrow here.  The sun is making a good picture impossible from any direction I try to take it.

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Also difficult is taking pictures as I paddle up stream.  Can’t set the paddle down to pick up the camera or the spring run wants to turn me around and head me back down.   Here are some shots of my wonderful morning floating back down after my stop and turn around.

 

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You can see the sand clearly here.  The water is less than a foot deep at this point.  I have a rudder on my kayak which really helps me in rough waters and for picture taking, but I have to take it up for the Rock Spring.  It keeps getting stuck.   That sign on the right says 6 miles from the spring.  That’s how I know I went over 4 miles since the Rock Spring Run is 10 miles.  The Wekiwa Run is just over one mile.

 

I do the harder work of paddling against the current up stream in order to get to my favorite part, just floating along in this jungle like surrounding which makes me feel like I’m in another time where things are all just perfect.

 

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Last time we were here, we did a shuttle from Kelly Park where the Rock Spring is located not too far from the state park.  We floated down to the shuttle take out at the Fort King Landing for our ride back to our car at Kelloy.  At Fort King, they don’t really have a take out, just a dock.  If you’ve been following us that long you’ll remember that David fell in, camera and all,  trying to get out of his kayak and up onto the dock.  In his defense, the water was low, the dock was high and we probably won’t ever do that shuttle again.

 

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But what we will do is provide solo shuttles for each other next time we are here.  When we are on the river, we don’t really talk to each other much so going down one at a time is just fine.  I can take him up and drop him off and he can float down and then paddle back the mile to the park where there is a proper kayak take out.  On another day he can take me up and I can do the same.

 

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It has really been wonderful all morning seeing not one other soul in this beautiful setting.

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Two swallow-tailed kites are overhead flying all around.  Could it be courtship??

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I didn’t see a soul on the river until I was very near the bottom of the run.  These young men on paddle boards were the first but after them, I passed a total of 30 people coming up the Rock Spring or down the Wekiwa before I got back to the park.  That was in a total of as many minutes.  30 people in 30 minutes!  And this was a Tuesday at the end of March.  Is it still Spring Break Season all through March?  Does it go into April?


I’m sure glad I started out early and will be back before the river becomes so crowded.  All those folks won’t see a thing.  There are too many of them and they are making too much noise.

 

 

I stop floating as I turn into the Wekiwa Spring Run to paddle the mile back to the dock.  The turtles hadn’t been out when I came in the morning in the fog but they are soaking up the sun now.
I always think “look mom, no hands” when I see them with their “feet and arms” in the air.

 

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I land at the put in which is just the kind I like where you simply paddle right up on to the shore.  There is an attendant here to rent kayaks and canoes and paddleboards and to get people life jackets and push them off.   He kindly pulls me up further so I don’t even have to step in the 72 degree water.  Kind of a shame actually.

I pull Tootsie up the path and lock her next to David’s kayak behind the boat rental house.
She’s ready for another morning paddle.  I’ve been out on the water for five hours.  What a wonderful way to start the day!

 

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19 comments:

  1. A very terrific way to start the day, meditating on a peaceful river (despite the airboat).

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  2. That was an amazing paddle! You weren't kidding when you said it was a great way to start a day. It was a great way to start MY day reading your post. Thank you for sharing all the amazing beauty of nature. :c)

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  3. The video worked by clicking on the photo. How fun to see the limpkin in action!
    I never put video on the blog so can't help you there.

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  4. That noisy boat would be a rude awakening but otherwise another wonderful paddle. The video opened for me in YouTube. Can't help with why it won't add to your blog. Nice to see the limpkin in motion. Is it eating mussels?

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  5. We loved paddling the Wekiwa and Rock Spring runs. So excited that we'll be returning to do it again next spring! I felt like I was paddling along with you on that peaceful morning (well, peaceful except for the airboat). I know the hydrilla needs to be controlled, but I can only imagine how toxic that herbicide is. :-( Fun to see the limpkin!

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  6. Once again I'm completely relaxed after our early morning paddle, ahhhh. Thanks for doing all the work :-) Love the limpkin video. I would add video like that to any future post, it's not difficult to just click on the photo and watch it in YouTube. The kites are so pretty and of course turtles make my day :-)))

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  7. Quite a lot of bird life there! On the rare occasions when I add a video, I just add the Youtube video via a link, as opposed to a direct upload in a post.

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  8. Been on a number of airboat rides. Lots of noise but the ride is exciting:)

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  9. What a beautiful five hours, so many birds.the video of the Limkin worked fine and the video was really clear.

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  10. Yep...great way to start the day!!! Lovely paddle, but sure is shallow.

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  11. What a peaceful, lovely start to the day. Thank you for taking us along.

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  12. It looks so relaxing. I can see why you took 5 hours.

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  13. Great post, I enjoyed the video and the photos of the swallow tailed kites, a bird I have yet to see!

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  14. Neat video! Glad you got that to work! After the air boat, that looks like a rewarding and relaxing paddle. Birds and gators and turtles, oh my!

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  15. There is nothing more irritating than that loud air boat, especially in the early morning that you tried to have peace. Thankfully he was gone and your back to your serene paddle. I wished I can get up that early so I can enjoy the peace and the wildlife and just let go.

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  16. And Oh and I was able to view the video. Just wished the Limpken did not hide killing his prey and show us how he kills the fish! I got a bonus video too, David's driving on gravity hill.

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  17. You described a perfect day! I love nature!

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  18. Yes, your limpkin video worked great! I could hear him/her crunching the shell, or at least that is what it sounded like to me. Great to paddle in a place that feels so distant in time & space.

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