"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Silver River Adventures

Our adventures at the Silver River State Park came in three parts.  Claudia, a friend from the WomenRV forum was spending a few days at the state park campground and Liz and I drove over to spend some time in the park.  First day we hiked about 5-6 miles (I don't use my Fitbit anymore),  the second day we took the Glass Bottom boat ride and the third day we hauled out kayaks to the headwaters and did the long 4 plus hour paddle down to the pull out.  

There were miles of nice well marked trails.

Claudia and Howdy, Liz and Thistle

The path we chose took us from the campground to the headwaters of the spring and where the boats dock to take out the tourists and the kayaks launch for their trips down the river or around the shorter loop.   By observation we found out that someone offers Segway Tours.   We were tired enough from the first half of the hike to appreciate another method of travel but didn't figure the Segways would like the trails nor the dogs take to changing travel modes.

So we just rested.

Took turns as dog holders and took advantage of the facilities.

And then we hiked the miles in reverse. The dogs all slept well at the end of the day.

The next day we headed back over for the Glass Bottom Boat Tour.   We shared the boat with a group of ten individuals participating in a tour with Roads Scholars.  I have looked over their diverse list of travel destinations on the Internet. It was interesting to see one of their small groups in person. I spoke with a couple of their travelers. One gentleman had been on 29 trips with them.  They offer trips around the world to small groups.

It is a little more difficult to see under the kayaks but the clear water of the springs does allow you to see a lot regardless of what boat you travel on.

From the boat the captain pointed out one of the river neighbors.

Doesn't that smile just make you want to smile?  Our Captain was Oscar, a 49 year veteran in his position on this river.  Yes, as a matter of fact he does have seniority in his position.  Think he enjoys sharing his river with tourists?

And yes we saw another line of Segway tourists but the picture doesn't look that much difference from yesterday's.  This group was also missing the young man with the bright orange spiky Mohawk I had seen the day before. 

On our way back the car we spied this RV with all its toys attached.  We got to meet the couple and let them know that we appreciated their travel and play methods.  They took our suggestion of paddling the long route on the river and we met them again on the river at our lunch stop the next day. The rig is an Airstream.

 ....And on the third day we did the river run which included unloading kayaks and shuttling cars to the park down river where we expected to pull out..   Then putting in at the head waters of Silver Springs.   And we were off down the River.

Very tiny white flowers that were blooming at the tips of the sea grass.....

Liz in her Hornbeck and Claudia in her Advance Element.  Behind Claudia is a nice couple we met at the launch site and shared the river with until they had to circle back to the launch site with their rental kayak.

Liz ahead turning the bend on the river.

And then suddenly and with out any expectations on our part we saw Manatees!  There were three that we saw slowly swimming towards us.  They swam right up to our kayaks and then swam around and under out boats checking us out before  continuing on upstream towards the headwaters and the main springs. 

I like the expression on the woman's face.

That was fun but ultimately the manatees were heading up stream and we were heading down stream. Later during the paddle we were passed by several boats with motors and we tried to warn them that there were manatees in the river ahead.   Liz said that she had never seen them in this part of the river and that they had to move through the locks to get here. We were afraid that the boaters moving up stream were not expecting them either.

Bye bye Manatees.

Clear spring water shadows and reflections

One of the coves without a spring where I suspect a swamp creature lives or lived

Nothing to see here, just keep paddling.

I heard them before I saw them. Monkeys!  Momma monkey was giving baby monkey a loud, chattering talking to.

This one was moving through the water and passed a ways behind Liz's kayak such that she didn't see him.

When we pulled out for a break and lunch at the dock that leads to the Silver River Campground (about 1/2 mile walk away) we spotted the two hand made kayaks that had passed us earlier in the river.  We visited through our lunch break with the owners. The husband had made both of them himself.  We appreciated the handiwork but thought they might be a little too heavy for us to lift to the tops of our cars by ourselves.

The husband was going to build them alike until his wife requested a more open cockpit so that she could get in and out easier.

The husband's even has a built in compass

About this time in the trip I was envying Claudia her inflatable.   The Hornbecks do glide through the water with less resistance and are a little easier to paddle but.....they are less forgiving for wiggling and repositioning. My butt and legs were getting tired of being in the same position.  Next time I try a four hour paddle downstream I might consider letting the river make up the difference and take the Sea Eagle Fast Track.  Claudia did seem to know how to enjoy the river.  There are so many sights and sounds and sometimes even the silence to take in.

Until next time......  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Paddling Here and Paddling There

What follows are pictures from several past paddles.   So If you are tired of water and seeing Liz's kayak just stop now.   Most are from several evening paddles here on Orange lake which only require a short walk over to the launch ramp from my rig. It makes launching out late in the afternoon for a quiet  end of the day paddle quick and easy, whether you go solo or with a friend.   Liz and I also drove our kayaks over to near Cross Creek and paddled both up and down the creek length as it connects two lakes.

Thought I should post these tonight because this week we hope to make the meditative paddle down the Silver River with Claudia. The Silver River seems to never disappoint and definitely leads spirits to peace and tranquility.......

Paddling is good for reflective thinking and may lower blood pressure.  Breath in. Breath out.  Breath in. Breath out.

Small side channel that was once much more useful and navigable than today.

The water levels in Orange Lake and many of the other bodies of water around the area have had dramatic ups and downs in the last 8 or so years.   Many of the Fish Camps do not seem to have weathered the droughts.  Even with attempts to clear channels many do not seem to have survived.  Sportsman Cove where Liz and I are currently parked has not fared very well but does at lest have enough channel opened up to attract a few fishing boats and an occasional Air boat this year.

These slips were observed on Cross Creek.

And they must be Reserved......to be sure you have a place to park. You can tell a bit by the pictures that the water level still is not up to it historic levels.....

Good evening to all and to all a good night.