Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Juniper Creek

Kayaked Juniper Creek Sunday, January 13, 2008. My first visit since early October, 2007.


One car was in the parking lot at Juniper Wayside on U.S. 19 when I arrived. I prepared to embark, gathering my gear; cooler, camera, PFD, paddle, aqua sox, wait, where are they ? Not to mention snorkel gear. Must have taken them out of the car Saturday, and I bet they are on the garage floor. The landing/launch at Juniper Wayside is the perfect place to put in if you don't want to get your feet wet. A slot, wide enough for a canoe or kayak, allows access from the deck with less risk of rolling over. There also is a muddy bank where I usually put in.

It was 68 degrees at 9:15 The Creek was shallow, current fast. The top photo, from the downstream paddle, shows how fast. The Creek here is running over classic Florida spring run limestone, which made riffles on the surface. Other parts of the bottom are light colored sand, other areas muck, others eel grass flowing Medusa-like with the flow.

It took three hours to get to the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, paddling through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness. I am not sure if the raptor in the treetop is an immature bald eagle or a hawk. Sorry I couldn't get a better picture. I did not see any other paddlers until I passed the rickety dock that marks the half way point. The dock is the only man made object from the Highway 19 bridge to the Recreation area, a distance of about six miles. The total trip, one way, is seven miles . Paddlers encountered numbered 20 or so.

I arrived at the Recreation Area, waited for a large group of yakers to put in, then stepped out of the yak- shoes off now- and pulled the kayak up the wood ramp. Chatted with some other folks waiting to go out, then walked over to the Spring. Bought a mask at the concession. $13.33 "Tourist prices". Good thing I had a spare snorkel in the trunk of the car. Now, I'll have an extra mask for visitors.

Less than 10 people were in and around the Spring. It was sprinkling, but no thunder. I got in, and had the Spring to myself for a brief time. Using fins really makes a difference. With just my feet, I could not reach the bottom at this flow point,

Got a bit closer to the second main vent

A father and son, in wet suits, joined me in the water. I, as always, just had swim trunks on. I swam over the weedy part of the Spring pool, looking for eels, did not see any. Got out, ate at an empty picnic shelter, as this guy scurried about.
Earlier, a raccoon was even more bold. I asked it if it could rip the plastic casing off my new mask, but seeing no food, it left.

The rain, which had stopped, started again. Not having rain gear, I decided to forgo the usual walk to Fern Hammock Springs and began the downstream trip. If not for the water spots on the lens, this would be a nice picture.

I slowly drifted, a correcting stroke, here and there, scanning the wooded banks for wildlife. Saw a few more birds,

In addition to the birds pictured, Great Blue Heron, Great egret, eagle/hawk ?, limpkin, blue heron, I saw pileated woodpeckers, wood ducks, belted kingfishers, assorted songbirds, red shouldered hawks, vultures, and heard barred owls. Here is another, large hawk. Red tailed hawk, I think.

This could be the same raptor I saw on the upstream paddle. It was downstream, and perched on the opposite bank. I was closer, and could see its yellow gold breast.
It took four relaxing hours to complete the paddle. To my surprise, I did not see any deer.
When I got home, the aqua sox were, as expected,on the garage floor. Mask, snorkel and fins, no where. Did I leave them at Wekiva Springs Saturday ? Called the Park this morning, nothing at the lost and found. Guess I'll be shopping.

For those of you with DSL, or patience, here is a 5 second video of a "boil" in Juniper Spring.


OldHorsetailSnake said...

Nice trip, Dave. Thanks.

Dave said...

You're welcome.

Pasco County Disaster Relief 4 Animals said...

cant seem to find rivers that allow dogs any more? we have 5 and no longer own a canoe
we use to love juniper but now they give out tickets at the take out area
any ideas?

Dave said...

Not being a pet person, the subject is not one I have considered. I think the issue at Juniper is more the No Swimming/No Wading Rule for 2 footed mammals being enforced four footed ones as well.

I think its a good thing to keep domestic animals out of the wild, but again, I'm not a pet person.

Pasco County Disaster Relief 4 Animals said...

when i called today the park says its ok but warn, some police officer waits at the wayside take out area and hands out tickets (fines) to those with dogs and those people that swim, the no pets and no swimming at the takeout area near 19 changed about a year ago.

Dave said...

After a gator killed a snorkler.

Pasco County Disaster Relief 4 Animals said...

hummmm, didnt know that.
still the fines dont make sence about the dogs.
I cant see police carring about dogs as much as people any way thanks for the explination.....
though i had planed on looking into the full story next week of the change of can's and can-not's

Anonymous said...

ATTENTION CANOE LOVERS UNITE and be heard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let it be known by the Rowmin Goat that I have declared war on the forest service and will now let all know of the injustice bestowed on the public on Juniper Wayside. There have been many changes at the wayside which I agree with on the most part. However the put in part of the put in take out is not leagal any longer. You heard me right. It is a big fine to put your canoe in at the wayside. The forest service run by Rick Lint, [free phone number in Marion county]288-8520 extention 5501 made the final decision to limit this river to a take out only at this spot after a press release on November 7, 2007 listed it would be a put in and take out point. I have talked to all concerned on implementing this new rule and at this time they are taking this stupid rule in consideration for reversal. Call the forest service at the above number and let them know that you don't agree with this.

Dave said...

Thanks for the tip, Goat. I will call.

Rowmin Goat said...

Hello again Dave. I have been doing more research on the Juniper Wayside and have found that the Forest Service has turned the wayside completely over to the consessonaire at juniper Springs. [Resource Management].The forest service says they are under contract to go along with what the resource management company wants. This is a complete sell out and pass the buck on their part. I have contacted the Star Banner and have talked to Susan Carr who wrote the original article on the changes and who interviewed Rick Lint and was very surprized they changed the final draft and shut the wayside to put in canoes and kayaks. In the next week I am weighing the options to picket the entrance of Juniper Springs entrance. I need to see if permits are required to do so. I need to do this legal because the law will surely be called. I have never in all of my 53 years done a protest but now is the time. Unite!!! Rowmin Goat

Dave said...

I stopped by the Wayside today, June 28, 2008. I am still going to launch here. The new signs, which were up in January when I posted this Tale, read "Take Out Parking Only" I am parking for take out....eventually. A sign at the Creek has yellow tape over what I assume is the word "launch" part of the Canoe Launch/Takeout sign. There is no posting of possible fines for launching.

I will continue to put in at the Wayside, and if by chance some offical is there early in the morning to tell me I can't, I'll just go to the CR 445 Bridge and Alexander Creek. Then, I'll raise heck with the authorities.

Dave said...

Correction to my last comment.
The "Take Out Only" signs were up in May, when I last paddled Juniper Creek, not in Jan.

mike rowlands aka Rowmin' Goat said...

Hello again. The Ocala Star Banner had an article in the Sunday newspaper 6-29-2008 You can go to Ocala Star Banner and type in Juniper Wayside for the article. This may get the ball rolling on a reversal. Thanks Mike Rowlands aka Rowmin' Goat.

mike rowlands said...

Here is the link to the Sunday article in the newspaper on the Juniper Wayside. Rowmin Goat

Dave said...

Mike, thanks for the link to the article. I posted a comment on the Star Banner site suggesting sulutions to the parking "problem" seen by Ranger Lint.

Do you mind if I link the article, and your efforts in a post on the Green Wave Forum ?

Susan Carr. Any relation to Majorie Harris and Archie Carr ?

mike rowlands said...

Hello Dave. Use the article any way you like. It is fine with me. I tried to log in to the Green Wave forum tonight and had a problem with the sight taking my name. Thanks . You are doing what I was trying to do anyway. Rowmin Goat

rowmin goat said...

I just got a call from Rick Lint and the put-in at Juniper Wayside is now OPENED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 Thanks for all of your support and comments. Thank you Rick Lint. Mike Rowlands

Dave said...

It's amazaing what a little citizen activism can do. All paddlers owe a thanks to Mike, aka Rowin Goat.

Now, lets do what we can to keep the Wayside pristine.