The Wekiva, and its tributaries, Rock Springs Run and Blackwater Creek, offer the best paddling in Florida. I've seen alligators, deer, bear, manatees, otters and bald eagles. Kayak in 3 State Parks and a State Forest. Cool off in a spring post paddle.
[/ thus avoiding the $6 charge quote] Using the yakdave, "don't ask don't tell method" when arriving by water, I see. I believe there is a two dollar per boat charge for those entering the Park via boat. On a serious note I need to thank my Mom when I call her tommorow, Easter Sunday. For her and my Dad taking seven kids on the water. In one canoe. Guess we learned to share.
Master Dave, the tree was before the sand bank. Did not make it there. Even assuming the sand bank was under water this time, the tree was before the first open area. The pic on your report does not look like the one I saw. I tried to find a way under and around with no luck. Maybe if I had more experience... Well, that will come with time.
I missed Mary. Lost a chance to take a pic of a barred owl because was not able to put myself in position on time. Also she would have loved seen the mom and baby deer, even if it was three seconds.
But I do not think she would have enjoyed this trip. Too many drunks. A fellow kayaker that I saw after leaving Buffalo Tram, he was part of a group of three going down river, also mentioned the same thing to me at the parking lot. Someone threw a stick to a dog in front of the place outside the park(sorry...I refused to give them free publicity) and the dog almost jumped to his kayak.
I wonder if the tree you saw down is different from the one I paddled/pushed around last Sunday. I can top your drunks. Beer drinkers in an airboat between the St. Johns and Blackwater Creek. Both illegal. Great pics. Even more so that you had to take them yourself, paddling and photographing, instead of the usual division of labor with the Mrs.
Luis, ever since seeing you and Mary, Saturday, I thought, can't wait to see the pictures. A quick count shows 20 different species. Great eye! The Wekiva is heaven. The little shack with the docks is Wekiva Haven, but if you want to call it Heaven, who am I to judge? Curiosity about the unknown bird had me going to the Cornell U site Yours looks like a gray catbird.
Darkknight, I've never seen a pig on the Lower Wekiva. So now, I'll see one next visit. After all, after you spotted a glossy ibis, I wrote, " Don't think I've ever seen a glossy ibis on the Wekiva" And, next launch from Katie's, there it was.
I would gladly exchange a chance to take a pic of the Glossy Ibis for a chance to see and shoot pics at the deers fording. They were around Saturday but we were not able to take pics. I guess it is a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Only thing is that you seem to have a deer magnet.
I had to change the descption that had been used to descibe the Wekiva River. I was not the author. This was it. "Great river in Seminole county..for uncrowded stretch try Wekiva Adventures We paddled from there near S.R. 46 upstream to Wekiva Falls, which is an RV resort, but offers a grassy area for resting or swimming. great day!" Come to think of it, I should have let it be. That stretch is the one of the least scenic of the entire Wekiva system. People might paddle it, think, what's the big deal? and never come back.
The no dead wood ban is for a couple reasons. (1) If every camper were to do it, the sites would soon be stripped bare (2) Dead wood decays, offers life for insects, worms, ect that replenish the soil. Every nature trail in every Florida State Park (at least that I've seen) has a sign near a downed tree "Life From Death" describing the constant renewal process created by decaying organic material
Ya know I'm just messin' with ya anyway, but wow! I am surprised to learn that you can't use deadwood. Seems that if enough campers used it over the years it could prevent the state from having to do controlled burns in those areas. When I say "deadwood" I'm speaking of smaller branches & such, fallen to the ground, and not harboring wildlife. Do you know the reason for this not being allowed?
At least someone got something good out of that %#*!! '04 hurricane season! That is just Priceless seeing someone, who is probably the most experienced kayaker on this site, hauling a log on his yak! I guess what's so funny is that it reminds me of myself... trying to scheme ways to take everything including the kitchen sink! May I suggest something a little lighter... Coleman® Camp Axe. Or, my favorite, the Folding Hand Saw. Don't get the Pocket Hand Saw (those little wire deals), they stink! You da man, Yak!
Paddlesolo, thanks for the advice. I've received many sleeping suggestions. I will stick up for kayaks, at least mine. It is big enough to carry all I need for one,and probably two, nights. With a canoe, there can be a temptation to overpack.
Before you go again, I know you are going to give serious thought to sleeping arrangements. I do well with the serious felt covered air mattresses, and there are battery operated pumps to blow them up with. In fact my son has one with a self-pump installed in the air mattress. Does take D batteries to operate.
I will put in a plug for canoe camping, just so much easier to carry all the stuff. One of my paddling acquaintances purchased a Mohawk Solo 14 canoe immediately after a Suwanee River multi-day camp-out. He and a couple other guys thought they could haul their gear in an inflatable raft, taking turns pulling it with the kayaks. Raft was shredded the first day and the picture of his kayak piled sky high with camping gear was a wonder to behold.
Dave - congrats on your first kayak camping trip! I enjoyed your report and photos, but I'll have to tell you, when I saw the "underway" thumbnail my first thought was Oh *&^$, Dave's got an alligator tied to the deck... Thankfully clicking on the pic showed it was only a log.
A kudo - That has to be the biggest snapping turtle I've ever seen. Good job on getting that photo. I bet he could have taken on any gator on the river.
It may be a Black-bellied Whistling Duck. It was the only one I could find with a bright pink bill like that. Since I can't see the bottom part of the duck, identification is difficult. Here is a description of the bird. I thought the white eye ring was like the pictures and description I saw, although most pictures showed greater color variation. Web site said they are found ocassionally in Florida, primarily Texas, and Central America.
"The Black-bellied Whistling-duck is 19-21 in (48-53 cm) long. It has a long red bill, long head and longish legs, pale grey head and mostly grey-brown plumage. The belly and tail are black, and the body plumage, back of the neck and cap are a rich chestnut brown. The face and upper neck are grey, and they sport a thin but distinct white eye-ring. The extensive white in the wings is obvious in flight, less so on the ground; it is formed by the secondary remiges while the primaries are black; the wing-coverts are brown. Males and females look alike; juveniles are similar but have a grey bill and less contrasting belly.
More Katie's Landing info from the State Parks website : Katie’s Landing, part of Lower Wekiva, is under construction. We hope to have this open in March of 2009. The improvements include parking, restroom facility and picnic tables. Launching of canoes and kayaks will be available and visitors can enjoy a five-hour trip on the Wekiva River, departing Wekiwa Springs State Park and finishing at Katie’s Landing. Watch for this activity beginning in April, 2009. Lower Wekiva
Paddlesolo: For every picture you see, there are plenty of empty branches and logs. Just keep trying. Of the thousands of kingfishers I've seen, I may have 5 photos. That flighty fowl requires Shermanesque skill. And I don't mean William Techumseh.
YakDave: I am so envious that you see all the wildlife, and can get photos of it. I am limited to bridges, flowers, people and take-outs. I tried to get a picture today of a Great Egret (either two different birds, or two opportunities with the same bird) and a kingfisher. No such luck. The one turtle I saw bailed into the water before I could even lift my camera. I think this trip had some of your best bird pictures yet. You da man!