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Silver River Report
(Ray Wayside to Silver Springs)

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Report By:  pnerissa    Date: 8/15/2010 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 11 photos     Map & Directions: View

Five of us set out bright and early Sunday morning for what can only be described as a perfect paddle trip.

My Report:

Five of us drove up from Fort Walton Beach the previous day so we could paddle some of the Ocala area's finest spring runs. We arrived at Ray Wayside Park about 8:30 a.m. and wasted no time getting our kayaks in the water. It was a beautiful day for it with the mist just clearing off the water by the time we arrived.

We headed out of the channel and into the river and were immediately treated to the sight of clear water tinted an emerald green by the grasses beneath. The channel was noticeably deep and there was a good current flowing down as we began the four mile paddle upstream.

As a writer, there are times when a sight is so amazing that it almost steals my capacity for words. Silver River is beautiful beyond compare and I only hope that some of my pictures are able to reflect that. When I wasn't paddling I was taking pictures while my kayak drifted back gently in the current. We were treated repeatedly to the sight of hawks, enormous fish (including gar), otters, alligators, water birds, turtles, turtles and more turtles. No monkeys this trip.

About halfway up we landed at Silver River State Park where we had to abandon one of our paddle mates. She had injured her arm earlier in the week and the chore of paddling was nagging at the injury. She graciously allowed us to continue on without her with the promise of lots of pictures to reward her, so after a brief rest we started out again.

As we neared the springhead the boat traffic started to appear in the form of one of the glass bottom boats from the Silver Springs attraction. We watched and listened as the tour guide pointed out various sights along the river. We paddled on up to the spring to the sounds of piped music and rested in our kayaks for a few minutes while we gazed into the crystal clear waters.

While drifting near the walkway one of the tourists told me about a 12' alligator that was floating near the docked glass bottom boats. I followed his pointing finger and paddled up to the "monster." The 12 footer turned out to be a 4 footer. Apparently one multiplies the length of the alligator by the number of people who spotted it to come up with the appropriate length. Wink

Reluctantly we started our journey back downstream. Again we were rewarded with remarkable closeups of birds, turtles and alligators which also brings me to my next important safety tip. PAY ATTENTION. While photographing a lily I almost drifted right into an alligator. In the picture you can see the ripples from my kayak as I backpaddled furiously while yelling, "Gator! Gator! Gator!" Don't ask me how I managed to get a picture and paddle. I don't know either.

We saw a total of 5 alligators in all on this trip and there is no telling how many we didn't see. What I didn't understand was the number of people swimming in the river. I guess if if weren't for people like this we wouldn't have the 6 O'Clock news. *shrug*

We picked up our straggler at Silver River State Park and headed back to Ray Wayside. We took out about 1:30, loaded up our kayaks and started our long drive back home. It was truly an amazing journey and I can't wait for our next trip back.

-Beverly Hill

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 8
Fees/Costs $: 4

Photos from Ray Wayside to Silver Springs:    (Click image to view full size)

Silver River SP Restricted
Silver River SP

Sign upon entering Silver River State Park via Silver River.

Leaning Palm Restricted
Leaning Palm

Jungle-like foliage along the banks of the Silver River.

Beautiful Water Restricted
Beautiful Water

Beautiful greenish water along the Silver River.

Alligator Restricted

A sharp eye can help spot the ones that are hiding.

Kris on Silver River Restricted
Kris on Silver River

Keeping an eye out for elusive monkeys.

Baby Alligator Restricted
Baby Alligator

Keep your distance. Momma may be nearby.

Turtle Trio Restricted
Turtle Trio

Turtles are very common on Silver River.

No Swimming Restricted
No Swimming

Can't imagine why not...

Glass Bottom Boat Restricted
Glass Bottom Boat

Eavesdrop on tours as the boats glide by.

"12" Foot  Restricted
"12" Foot

4' x 3 people = 12 feet.

Pay Attention! Restricted
Pay Attention!

Pay attention when photographing or be prepared to be eaten!

Post Date: 8/18/2010

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