The Mapquest link gives an idea of my travels. Not entirely accurate, I took a more direct route to the Silver River.
I launched today, Sunday, November 30, at 8:45. Blue sky, warm weather, 70's. The forecast called for 20-25 mph wind and rain by the afternoon. Rock Springs Run is my windy day paddle. A short drive, so less car/kayak issues, and a 75% tree lined paddle, so the wind is not much of a problem. Unless a tree falls on me, but a least I'd go happy.
Three folks launched just ahead of me, a solo and tandem kayak. I passed them on the Wekiva before getting to Rock Springs Run. Saw the usual fauna.
Deer, including bucks with impressive antlers, have been common on Rock Springs Run this month. The pictured one was just downstream of Otter Camp, on the left. Appropriately, I saw a small otter near the aforementioned camp site.
As I paddled upstream, I noticed something I had not observed the last three days. Sweat. It was humid, as well as warm. Overhead, clouds moved quickly across the sky. No one was camping at any of the three campsites, but a large group was set up on a high dry site on the left, past Otter Camp, before Indian Mound. I asked if they were there to avoid the four dollar fee. No, came the response, we pay, it this is just a better site. I think they did pay. On the way back, the now empty site was pristine. I did not see any paddlers on Rock Springs Run until I was well past the halfway point, when a family in two canoes came downstream. I asked if many people were at Kings Landing, from where they came. We were the only ones, they said. And they were. I paddled past the canal that leads to Kings Landing, and continued up the Run until a tree blocked my way. I could have gone under, but I had been out 3.5 hours and it was pouring. So I turned around. The rain stopped, as did I, for lunch. I had come prepared, a windbreaker in my cooler. In a different compartment from the chicken and water bottles. I traded wet t-shirt for jacket, and continued downstream.
Pictured are great egret, ibis, limpkin, and green heron. I also saw great blue herons, red shouldered hawks, belted kingfishers and vultures. The rain kept the birds down. Not to mention alligators. Early in the day, with bright sun, I thought, I'll see a lot of gators. I saw none. It got dark, very dark. Hard rain. But, it eventually stopped.
This deer had been sitting out the storm.
It stood up, shook itself off like a dog (I'm sure the deer thinks dogs shake off water like a deer)
And continued her lunch.
I saw this deer a half hour later.
Note how smooth the coat is, compared to the mangy hide of the other deer. Fur dries in thirty minutes. I saw the fourth deer of the day, another buck, shortly after this one. It was to far away, head and antlers popping above the emergent vegetation as it walked near the bank, eventually climbing up the bank and into the woods. Four deer matched the number of occupied boats I saw. "Occupied" as there were empty canoes at the campsite mentioned earlier. I landed just after 4. No one was on the water. On a Sunday. Nothing like a little rain.
After dragging the yak up the hill, I found out it was more than a little rain. A tornado warning had been in effect for much of the afternoon. Tired, wet and cold, I did not take a dip in the Spring, or take a short hike, but came home. But not before seeing something I hoped to see all weekend.
Four days in which I saw, and shared, views of manatees, dolphins, bald eagle, monkeys, alligators, and deer, it is appropriate that a turkey, one of three, is the last animal I saw.