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

Henry David Thoreau

A Languid Afternoon

Rainbow Springs Campground Site #46
Dunnellon, Florida

As promised here is what our afternoon looked like following the visit to the beautiful 3 Sister's Springs.
We drove up the tree lined drive to the former "attraction" now known as Rainbow Springs State Park Headwaters.  It reminded me of the picture in my mind of the road into a southern plantation.  Long and languid.  A transformation from the hustle and bustle to this lovely park.

We had lunch we'd brought with us on their veranda which has wrought iron tables below the snack bar where they have typical burgers and other fare.   There are also picnic tables throughout the grounds.  I didn't think to get pictures of either of these and should have since the veranda and the view from it are quite lovely.

We began walking the garden paths passing pools like this one

And waterfalls constructed in the 30's for the "attraction" from local phosphate rocks.  There are 3 or 4 waterfalls hidden off the paths in this beautiful garden.  Not too many showy flowers at this time of year but I'm told that spring is a sight to see and the area is ablaze.  I'd love to come back and take a look.

Here is a river overlook at the headwaters.  The swimming area I showed in a previous post is off to the right in this picture.

I loved the sign posted on your way to the swimming area.  The Ranger Kim, whom we have come to know well, after 3 previous short visits, told us that she took a shot of a BIG gator, maybe 10' long, at the kayak rental area which is currently closed but just around the shore from the swimming area so perhaps it isn't just a cute sign.

Although, even at this distance, you can see the sign didn't deter these dozen or so people enjoying the 72 degree springs' waters on this October day.

At the far end of the gardens, where the 1930's rodeo used to be held we found the butterfly garden.  Its lined paths were a nice transition from the wide verandas of the more formal gardens and the hiking trails beyond it.

Not too many things in bloom here in the fall but it was interesting to see the variety of native wildflowers and herbs they had labeled along the paths.

We were not the only ones enjoying the flowers today.

 including the hoped for butterflies.

Leaving the Butterfly gardens we entered the woodland trails.

 There are 3 color blazed trails, yellow, blue and white which go around and through the native vegetations.  There are three or four separate habitats along the way.  This is Native Florida the way it looked before development and would look again if man were not attempting control.

 Lovely well maintained paths.  Easy to walk.  A nice stroll of 3 or so miles depending on how many of the trails you wish to include in your hike.  

There were vistas to the river along the way.

 More wild Florida.

As our hike concluded we again approached civilization and the headwaters.

It was a relaxing afternoon in a lovely place which has been rescued from abandonment by the people of Florida through their state park system for all of us to enjoy.  The $2 entry fee is the bargain of the state I would think.

Biking plans for tomorrow.  Will let you know how it goes.  :-)

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