Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wekiwa Springs State Park and The Wekiva River

Wekiwa Springs is a popular swimming hole near Apopka and its clear river is one I have been eager to paddle for some time. I like to swim in the spring in fall and winter, when no one is around. You can imagine the riot of dipsters in the spring today!

I got my chance in the late afternoon, to explore the river on my return from south Florida. The Shuttle launch was cancelled and although I was disappointed I knew an opportunity to paddle the Wekiva River was at hand. The river is home to many kinds of fish including this sucker catfish which schooled with me while I floated. The trees are thick with airplants and they looked like river hair. I saw an alligator, two swallowtailed kites and lots of green herons. This little land tortoise was munching grass in the sand trail upon which I dragged the kayak down to the river.

The river has many fallen trees and is twisty and turny, requiring a bit of agility with one's paddle. The banks are thick with yellow north american lotus plants, sabal palms, old cypress trees with knobby knees, and maidenhair ferns perch atop half sunken oaks. For my friends who like to see bottom, this is one river which will not disappoint. The dragonflies traversed their watery highway. The river smelled like lotus blossoms and anise. I paddled up to the first bridge and although there were miles ahead of me, I had yet a long drive home so, I turned around. The swallow tailed kites were soaring over the bridge.

What delights me about this Park is that it is smack dab in the middle of lush suburbs. It is a hidden treasure. Forty two million gallons of clear water boil out of the spring each day and flow north into the St. John's river.

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