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

Henry David Thoreau

Checking out Ichetucknee and a 9 month check up at Moffitt


Thursday March 28 & Friday March 29, 2013
Site 28, O’Leno State Park
High Springs, Florida

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 234

 

One of the main things I want to do while at O’Leno is to swim in the Ichetucknee Springs.  Gotta check em’ off my list you know.  So today we go over to see about swimming and kayaking. 

 

Ichetucknee is either 12 or 14 miles from O’Leno depending on which end of the park you go to. The park has no campground.  It is a day use area and REKNOWN for its summer tubing.  They offer tubing between memorial day and labor day only and limit the number of people going down the river to 750 A DAY.    After seeing the river, I can’t even imagine that many people on this gorgeous stretch of water.

 

During the rest of the year it is supposedly no tubing, only swimming canoeing and kayaking.  Although today we see tubers getting in at Mid Point.  There is a noticeable lack of park staff here.  Hardly any presence at all although someone had to have unlocked the gate at 8am.  But no one is collecting entrance fees at either the north or the south end.  They trust you with the iron ranger.   We have an annual Florida Parks pass so it is free to us anyway.

 

 

Ichetucknee Springs has two entrances

The North end of Ichetucknee contains two springs, the Main Spring and Blue Hole Spring.  It also contains the tube launch spot below the springs.  No kayaking or tubing in the springs.  Only swimming thankfully.

There are 3 landings at the South end of Ichetucknee.
They are the take outs or re-launches for tubing.  A tram runs from the last take out up to either Dampiers, the middle put in , or Mid Point the most Northern (in the south end of the park).  As you can probably guess, Mid Point (although the northern most launch in the south end of the park)  is about midway down the State Park’s 3.5 mile section of the river which begins at the North end springs.   Confused yet?  You actually had to be there.   Just picture a river with a bunch of folks getting into it in tubes near the North end and floating down 3.5 miles to the south end and then boarding a tram back to either the middle of the river to go again or to another spot further down to go again.   Clearer??

There is no internal public park road running between the north and south sections.  So you cannot go back up to the very beginning to tube again without paying again.  And you can’t go up to go swimming in the spring without driving up there.  The middle of the park is totally wild.  No stopping on the river there.  Only at the take out spots.

 

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 172

We park at the main building which houses the snack bar and restrooms to walk down to Dampiers.  Boardwalks make the trip easier on bare feet.  Not ours now, the tubers in summer.  This park is really all about tubing.

 

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 174

A passel of kayaks is putting in at Dampiers.  Looks like college kids.  In Florida, it’s some school’s spring break through the entire month of March and through the week after Easter if like this year that is the first week of April.   The spring breakers are EVERYWHERE.

 

Food and water are allowed in kayaks but not tubes and only if in non disposable containers.  Although with no one checking, what good is the rule?  I’m sure they do check in the big summer rush.

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 175

 

 

There is a “nature trail” from Dampiers to Mid Point  so rather than walk on the closed tram roads, we set off through the woods.  It seems like a long walk before we get to the boardwalk down to Mid Point put in.  We are being watched.

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 179

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 183A

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 191 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 202

 

 

Scenic views abound around the boardwalk while you wait to get in the river.

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 203 

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 204

 

While we are enjoying this lovely spot illegal tubers come to get in the river.  Well I don’t know if they were illegal but the signs say tubing only from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  All other months swimming, canoeing and kayaking only.

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 222

 

 

Having a bottom in your tube might be nice on a day like today where the high is predicted to be 71, the water temperature is 72 and you are floating along in the shade.  We have on long sleeves and long pants.  But we’re old fogeys.   And it isn’t 71 yet.  That won’t happen for hours.

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 220

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 230

 

 

No chance of drowning, at least not at this spot.

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 229

 

 

  Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 228

 

 

 

I’ll save the other photos of this spectacular river for our kayak of it later in the week.

 

We close out our look at the South end of Ichetucknee by going down to the last take out which will actually be our put in for a kayak paddle.  We’ll paddle up stream to the tube put in at the North end and then float back down.

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 245

 

 

From here we drive up to the North End to see the springs.

 

 

 

First we see the Head Spring which actually is not the bigger of the two.  It is a second magnitude spring.  But it is beautiful and has been left mostly natural.  Only stone steps and decking on one side have been added. 

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 259

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 257 

 

Next we walk on to the Blue Hole Spring, the only first magnitude spring of the nine named springs that feed Ichetucknee River. Its average discharge is 67 MILLION gallons a day.  Old Timers call it the Jug because of its shape.  The water of the spring passes through the neck of the jug as it flows out into the spring run.  The body of the jug is 40 feet deep and leads into a complex 580’ underwater cave.

It’s down another boardwalk and then a trail.  Only for the truly dedicated.  There is a small pretty tributary along side the board walk leading into the spring viewing platform.  It is a large spring and other than the viewing/entry platform is totally natural.  There is a barrier to the spring run at the jug neck which keeps non abiding kayakers from entering.

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 260

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 262

 

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 276

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 272

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 278     

 

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 274

 

Who’s watching us here?

 

Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 286A

 

 

  Checking out Ichetucknee Springs SP 171

 

No ranger, no stamp but we were here so today’s date and the date of the forthcoming paddle will also go in my Florida State Parks Passport book.

Now we know all we need to come back for an all day paddle of the Ichetucknee River.   Stick around won’t you?

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY

Today we spend the entire day driving 150 miles one way to the Moffitt Cancer Center for David’s 9 month post stem cell transplant doctor’s visit.  We are on the road at 9am for his noon blood draw appointment.   At 1:30 his doctor looks over the results that they have to that point from the morning blood draws and  urine analysis and says things still look fine. 

There are more numbers to come but things appear to be just as they were at his 6 month appointment and he is still in complete remission.  Needless to say, this makes the 300 mile round trip more than worth while.  

I leave at that point and spend an hour driving 12 miles to stock up at our last Whole Foods Market for a long time.   Traffic on this Friday afternoon is ridiculous.  I am not surprised.   It takes 3 hours for me to go there, do the shopping and return.

While I am gone, David checks in at the infusion center and gets his infusion of Zometa. This takes only two hours.  :-)

On the way home, we stop at the Wesley Chapel Brusters for a reward.  Unfortunately they do not have Jamaican Me Crazy so we get Almond chocolate coconut for the first and last time.   The ice cream is good but just not quite good enough.  :-)   No pictures unfortunately.  I didn’t bring my camera since I couldn’t imagine wanting any more pictures of Moffitt

21 comments:

  1. Great news about the checkup! Keep doing whatever it is you're doing! :)

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  2. I can imagine that you would need not see pics of Moffitt and better yet to never have to go there again. You certainly are having some wonderful adventures while hanging out in Florida. I'd love to be kayaking there with you. Between Big Brother and your feathered friends you best be behaving.... All eyes are on you!

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  3. i am sure the drive down was much longer than the drive back... watch out we are watching you two...

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  4. outstanding news regarding David's checkup... whew...

    LOVE the owl... great picture. and well, that is a hawk? beautiful springs... love Whole foods... and ice cream ... ;)

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  5. I'm so glad to hear the news that David is doing so well. I loved the owl pic also. It never ceases to amaze me how wise the owl looks.

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  6. So Happy to hear about David's good news. Just knew an ice cream was in order. Sorry it wasnt Jamacian me Crazy, but what you had sounds good too. I love coconut anything.

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  7. Excellent news for David and you. The new park's springs and runs look much more natural than some you've shown. But I am confused about where to put in my what when. ;)

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  8. Glad to hear the news of the numbers :) It seems that Florida is so full of springs and holes that it is one big piece of swiss cheese!

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  9. That is such wonderful news about David's checkup!!! Still in Complete Remission...can't be better than that:o))

    Great post and looks like a wonderful paddle is in your future!

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  10. Yes... that is a long trip for the check-up...but what a wonderful outcome. Yeah David!! Things so many of us tend to take for granted. I think celebrating with ice cream is definitely in order. Just makes our day to see positive news about David. Although the water temps in the spring may not be as warm as you prefer... it looks good to us up here in Maryland with 25 degrees this morning. Even the dog didn't want to go out. Love the beautiful photography... especially that owl peeking out. Aren't they just stunning creatures!

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  11. wonderful new Sherry...so happy to see this update on David....the power of prayer..'complete remission' magical words!!!!! Glad to see you are both still having a wonderful time...

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  12. I'm so glad to hear David got good news again. That's just wonderful news!!!!

    Yikes!!!! Friday afternoon traffic in Tampa.....scares me just reading about it!

    Did you remember the new Whole Foods that's by my Mom's house? It's just off North Dale Mabry. Al thinks it's closer from Moffitt than the one on South Dale Mabry.

    Go west on Fletcher and north on Dale Mabry. Then turn left onto North Dale Blvd and Whole Foods is on the left. Al says it's probably 8-9 miles from Moffitt.

    Can't wait for pictures of the upcoming paddle.


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  13. What a blessing that David is doing so well. I bet the return 150 miles saw you wearing smiles the whole way.

    Too bad there was no J-M-C ice cream for you, that would have been the icing on the cake.

    Strange that there was no staff overseeing the park. Even stranger is how many people just blew off the rules, makes you wonder if they even put the entrance fees into the iron ranger. Some people! :c(

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  14. So glad to hear the news on David!

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  15. So fun to see you guys visiting places we've been to, too! We tubed down the Ichetucknee a couple of years ago, and swam out over the Blue Hole on another visit. Highly recommend both activities.

    Glad to hear David's doing well! Now come out west and visit us! :0)

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  16. Great news about David's check up. Looking forward to reading about your paddle trip. Did you see any notices restricting inflatable kayaks?

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  17. Wonderful news for you and David!!! Big change from not that long ago, huh? I love the pictures of the owl and the hawk; especially the owl. I've only seen one in all my travels, but I probably have walked past hundreds--I just don't have the eagle eye that you do!

    Love that your goal is to swim in all the springs. Ours was to see lighthouses AND we wanted to take pictures of all the wooden silos and barns as they are disappearing. We also loved covered bridges. Again, just so happy for you and David.

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  18. Excellent news about David's checkup! Keep on keeping on!

    On the other hand, an hour to drive 12 miles?! Hopefully you were still on a high from David's good news, making that drive a little more bearable.

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  19. Another entertaining blog - great picture of the owl and hawk! The River sounds lovely, although I'm not sure I'd like to be out there with a great mess of people in tubes! So sad there was no J-M-C :( Next time hopefully :)

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  20. Well-done, David's new immune system!

    I'm a little surprised you weren't swimming in the head waters. 72° is just your speed, isn't it? It feels much colder when the air is 100°.

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