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

Henry David Thoreau

Adventures of a Spring Chaser

Thursday April 10, 2014
Suwannee River State Park
Live Oak, Florida




Lime Sink Redo (1)

This morning we go down first thing to check the river level.  Hope springs eternal dontcha know?

Yup it's up.  The far fence post is just above the water.  The second board is disappearing.  That's the thing with rain on a river.  The day after the rain, it isn't nearly as high as it is going to get once all the water flows down from upstream.



Lime Sink Redo (2)




Lime Sink Redo (92)

So, no paddling today.  We think we'll go back and take a look at the Lime Sink trail bridge and see how it's doing.   This time we'll start at the beginning of the trail rather than in the middle.   I color coded our only map to show what we did and my orange marker was too fat but you get the idea.  Green is what we did yesterday and orange is what we did today.




We start at marker #1

Lime Sink Redo (9)

before marker #2 we are already underwaterLime Sink Redo (10)



#12  Ok so now what?

Lime Sink Redo (12)


We'll try the same trick as before, walk around the edges.

Lime Sink Redo (13)



Along the way we see some lovely wildflowers that aren’t submerged.  They sprinkle the ground all around above the water.


Lime Sink Redo (19)


The next trail 4 posts are all in the water so we won't be walking along the path between posts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.   The yellow numbered posts are the trail markers.



Finally we find where  the trail comes out of the water

Lime Sink Redo (24)



We have found the trail at #7 and it looks  like it leads to higher ground.  All righty then!

Lime Sink Redo (34)


It also leads to a more big trees needing hugs.  There really are a significant number of very large and assumedly old trees in the woods here at Suwannee River State park.  I wondered about those in the Earthworks area and whether they were here at the time of its creation.

Lime Sink Redo (36)


Lime Sink Redo (37)





We find an intersection with the spur trail up to the Suwannee River trail so we won't have to come back cross country like we've just done.  We think we’re on higher ground but  opps, this part of the trail leads into the water too 


Lime Sink Redo (39)



While we are trying to figure out how to get to the other side here from here.  I hear rat a tat tat.


Lime Sink Redo (42)


Lime Sink Redo (45)



We're off across country again.

Lime Sink Redo (56)



Ok we’ve found marker 12.  What happened to 8, 9, 10 and 11?  Who knows.  But this is the other side where we would have come out if we'd walked through the water.  We’re not making much progress with this round about hike  I think we've gone 3 miles to walk one.


Lime Sink Redo (58)

Lime Sink Redo (57)




Here’s one of the missing posts.  The trail is going to need a lot of maintenance once this water goes down. At least we can see this post.  Others are totally invisible.


Lime Sink Redo (60)



Now here’s a good sign, UP HILL to 13.  I think we may be safe for at least a while.


Lime Sink Redo (62)Lime Sink Redo (63) 


David has great eyes.  I didn’t see the lizard on this tree elbow until he pointed it out to me.  We both tried to get a picture of the lizard’s eyes but neither of our cameras was up to the challenge.


Lime Sink Redo (67)


Lime Sink Redo (65)


From posts 18 to 27, it’s like a walk in the park.   We have no problem at all.


Lime Sink Redo (72)



But I don't think we'll be walking across this bridge today.






David contemplates and decides against it.

Lime Sink Redo (78)


Lime Sink Redo (79)


But that's OK we'll backtrack to the Suwannee River trail and check out Balance Rock today.

As you can imagine, everything is green green green.   The resurrection ferns are standing tall.


Lime Sink Redo (83)




Lime Sink Redo (90)




It looks like we are neither going to hike nor kayak today at Suwannee River so we decide to take a road trip and see some other "spring" parks.  Road trip!

We set out for Lafayette Blue Spring Park.  I wonder if this is like the two rivers named Withlacoochee.  Why are there 3 parks with the name Blue Spring(s)???   Both Madison Blue Spring and Lafayette are fairly recently created parks.  So why name them blue spring too?   I know they are all "blue" springs but so are a lot of other springs in Florida.  I'm not even sure who to ask to find out the answer to this.  But I suspect it is very confusing to folks not familiar with Florida's State Parks especially trying to make reservations.  And by the way it is Blue Spring in Orange City, Madison Blue Spring in Lee and Lafayette Blue SpringS in Mayo.   It's all a matter of how many springs do you have I guess.   But it sure is confusing.




Ok so we are on our way to Lafayette Blue Spring State park when we pass a sign on the road that says Anderson Spring Twin Rivers State Forest.   Since we are in Ruby and we are scouting springs, we hang a quick right and drive down a dirt road to the edge of the Suwannee.  We don't see any spring but there is a set of stairs leading right down into the water.





PM Springs (7)



Whether that's where they always lead is unknown.   There is a clear difference in the color of the water though so we're thinking that in drier times the spring is visible.    And then we hear it....who who..... who who who.  Really close.  In he flies.  He's in a pretty distant tree but the canon is able to capture him anyway.


PM Springs (5)



This is a great little park.  Not sure if there is a kayak put in but if there is I'd love to come back and kayak that beautiful river.  Lovely spot in our National Forest.


PM Springs (9)




PM Springs (15)

On down the road we go and then...........wait.............what's that big brown spot in the road.   What in the world are you doing here buddy?   We pull over. 

I effect a rescue hoping he was intending to go over into the woods and not over into the houses.

As soon as I pick him up of course he starts swimming for all he’s worth and his claws are scraping my hands so I drop him off by the edge of the road, take off my shirt and use it to protect my hands while I carry him further back.





PM Springs (16)



We watch him for a while to see if he's going to try to cross back.   He slowly makes his way down the ditch parallel to the road giving no indication of his intentions.  We wish him the best and head on.  


PM Springs (20)

PM Springs (17)



PM Springs (23)


I'll bet you are wondering like I was, what in the world will we stop for next?  But that's the fun of it.  We have no time limit and nothing particularly to do so we can just do anything we wish.




We do eventually make it to Lafayette Blue Spring State Park.  They have several parking areas.  On our way to the boat ramp we pass their cabins.  When we see them, they look like the same ones that we saw at Suwannee only on stilts.  When we check them out, the floor plan is exact.  The only thing they don't have is the two seater rattan swing.  What they do have, at least at the first of the five is an elevator.  Wow the ADA has really done some work. 


I know these cabins look nothing like the ones I stayed in as a kid with my parents in parks.  These are huge.  They look like houses.


PM Springs (27)


PM Springs (29)

PM Springs (30)



The boat ramp looks great.  It's hard to tell how high up the river is since we've never been here before.  But the steps into the swimming area tell the tale.


PM Springs (36)

PM Springs (38)


PM Springs (51)



There is a stairs at one end of the spring and a ramp at the other.  Pictures along the walkway show that there is a 20 wide foot land bridge here that is now totally under water.


 PM Springs (41)




The park is also part of the Suwannee River Wilderness Canoe Trail.  I’d love to do a kayak paddle down the Suwannee in these, its northern parts,  but not at this stage.


PM Springs (48)

PM Springs (49)


PM Springs (50)



Lafayette Blue Spring became a state park in 2005.  Its spring is a first magnitude spring one of 33 in the state and discharges between 13 and 168 million gallons of water each day.  The spring water here is brown.  I assume that’s due to the darkness of the Suwannee flowing right outside the spring as opposed to the perhaps not quite as dark Withlacoochee flowing outside of Madison Blue Spring yesterday?   Or???   I’m not as inclined to want to swim here today.  But I’d sure like to see it when the river recedes.


PM Springs (52)


Before we leave the park, we walk back the road into the tents only, walk in campground.

PM Springs (65)



PM Springs (64)


Turns out we aren’t the only ones here.  There is a lone tent camper.  She’s in a yellow tent and has the entire campground to herself.

We have seen there is a nice boat launch and from the pictures of the spring at normal levels, a great place to swim.  But there are no staff here to ask about trails.  We don’t see any so it’s time for our last stop of the day.   A short drive of eleven miles and we are at Peacock Spring  State Park. 

But this post is long enough so I’ll  leave that interesting tale for another day.


  1. Really cool owl picture! You're doing very well with that camera, it may go on my wish list. I don't know what those white flowers are, we had them all over near the small springs at Otter Springs and I loved them. We leave in 8 days...never got the kayaks wet this winter, what a darn shame. We'll have to do better next year :-).

  2. Great hiking through beautiful open woods even if it was off trail. Great of you to rescue the gopher turtle from danger even at the risk of being scratched. Love your picture of his/her face! Great barred owl shot too!

  3. Doesn't that turtle look like an old soul??? Sure hope he got to his home ok.... You guys are so kind to 'help'

  4. Wow, that's a lot of water. I think you needed waders for this hike. Good to rescue the tortoise. Hope it didn't pee on you when you picked it up. They usually do, and did in South African road rescues.

  5. Even when your plans don't work as planned, there is always something interesting to do when you get out in nature. Beautiful photos of the owl and turtle!! We found another submerged spring just south of the State Park...Little Blue Springs State Park. It too was not accessible because of the swollen Suwannee River.

  6. Good on you for the turtle rescue. We always stop and try to get them off the road.

  7. Is it typical for this much water to be in these areas? Love the owl photo--we have 3 owls in the woods around our house. We love hearing them call to each other early in the morning. Hooray for the turtle rescue!

  8. Wow, great owl shot! We have yet to see an owl in the wild. Of course we aren't in the wild as much as you two ;-)

  9. You are certainly persistent in search of a hike, aren't you? I would probably have given up. I'm sure enjoying seeing the park in the high water stage.

    I've been going back to my posts from those same places and have enjoyed comparing the differences. It's amazing.

  10. Love the turtle and the owl too! You must have a great zoom on your camera. I could never have gotten a shot like that-

  11. Quite an adventurous day - I like the photos of Dad "contemplating" the options :) Impressive picture of the owl, as everyone else has said. Soo much water all around, but, it looks like you go in some good hiking too - love that pink lizard and the big tree to hug :)

  12. I love the way you "spring" around Florida finding these great gems. Hope the water recedes soon so you can get swimming towards your goal! ;c)

    Love the owl picture. I've never seen one in the wild (yet).

  13. Excellent photo capture of the owl! Your new camera is definitely serving you well. I can't believe how much water there is on those trails. And the high water is keeping you from kayaking, too. Bummer, I want to see that kayak trip!

  14. I captured both my owls with a Canon XS50 too! I can't believe all that water down there, drought in California and floods in Florida.


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