Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lakes Maitland, Nina, and Minnehaha

I couldn't resist. With the kayak on the car, and Fort Maitland Park a mile and a half away, I got a 90 minute paddle in this morning, Wednesday, May 26, 2010.

Partly cloudy with a light breeze. I saw just two other boats, none on Lake Minnehaha.

Lots of anhingas, but first, a moorhen. I've seen this bird referred to as a "purple gallinule". It is not, the purple gallinule is more colorful. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Purple_Gallinule/id

The photo above shows why anhingas are referred to as "snakebirds"
Lake Minnehaha. A different paddle from my recent excursions on the wild Blackwater Creek

But wildlife has a home in the suburbs.

After my usual circle of Lake Minnehaha, I was back in the canal, a brief stop in Lake Nina.

This really will be the last post until I return from my Keys and Miami vacation. Unless I find a hot spot....... So, catch up on some older Tales if you're a new visitor. Better yet, get out on the water.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blackwater Creeek

As long as my State Forest Use Permit is good until May 31, I may as well use it. Visited the Seminole State Forest after work today, Tuesday, March 25, 2010. Left work just before 5:30, in Blackwater Creek just before 6:30.
The only large alligator photo of the evening. Not the only large alligator, I saw several. When they saw me, BAM! into the water. One may have been the mother of these youngsters.

No more animal pics. Saw one great blue heron, one deer, a few pileated woodpeckers, wood ducks and assorted song birds.

So, all I have is these scenic shots of Blackwater Creek.

I went down Creek for 50 minutes. Went past the launch site a short way on the way back, landing about 8:10. Had enough light to stay out until 8:30. Not enough bug spray, It was at home, in a cooler, not in the car. Saw another deer as I put the yak on the car. Just a glimpse as it ran through the woods across the road from the launch site. With the near full moon, I could have stayed longer.

Well, not really, as I had to be out of the Forest at sunset. Seen here at Bear Pond.
Programing note. I may not post another Tale until Wednesday. Not tomorrow, but a week from tomorrow. The yak is still on the car, I may get a quick Lake Maitland- Minnehaha paddle tomorrow. Maybe a last visit to Blackwater Creek, Friday, after work. But, as I want to get up early Saturday, I may not. Going to Key West. Visit family, kayak, pick up a new trail bike at my nephew's shop. http://www.recyclekw.com/index.html

Then, Miami Monday and Tuesday. Brewers v. Marlins. Staying in a cabin at Oleta River State Park. In North Miami, less than 10 miles from the ballpark. A new place for Dave's Yak Tales. Trails to break in the new bike.

Next Wednesday, I'll stop somewhere on the way home. Looks like I'll have a lot to tell you about. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blackwater Creeek

I was back at the Seminole State Forest today, Sunday, May 23, 2010. My permit is good until May 31. I won't be able to use it next weekend, as I'll be in Key West and Miami. I may go Tuesday, perhaps Friday after work. Won't be able to paddle long, I'm working 9-5:30 instead of 8-4:30.

My legs are fine after Saturday's odyssey. They only hurt when I walk. Or stand. I added a picture to yesterday's Tale. A trails map from a kiosk. I think I figured out where I went wrong. Or left, instead of right.

Arrived at the Forest, paid the $2.00 fee at the self-serve box, unlocked the gate, locked it behind me, and drove 2.5 miles to the launch site. More people today. One other car, five cyclists, two guys fishing. Yesterday, 3 people. Dad fishing with his kids. Saw them again, later, as I was leaving. I left the launch area at 9:40. Paddled up Blackwater Creek, an alligator growing gustily as I did. Didn't see it, just a trail of bubbles. Saw a deer, big doe. I had just been thinking I don't see much wildlife on this part of the Creek, unless that brown wall is a deer. The wall moved, looked at me, and ran away. This great blue heron flew away. Good thing, as it was perched on a fallen tree I had to go under

Forty-five minutes paddling time, and more downed trees forced me to turn back. This clump of trees as been down since Christmas. The Creek is not cleared upstream of the launch site at the bridge. So, I paddled back to the launch site and beyond. Saw ibis, limpkin, swallow tail kite, wood ducks, pileated wood peckers. No pics of any of those.

Saw two more deer. One larger as their tails flashed as they ran away. Doe and fawn, maybe. I paddled a bit more than an hour down Creek of the bridge. Just past the metal chair on the left. Which had been moved since yesterday. Probably by the three anglers I saw yesterday. No one was on Blackwater today.

Water hyacinth. Pretty, but a nuisance. Unchecked, mats of this weed can, and have, block the Creek. Speaking of pretty, saw a fawn on the way back up Blackwater Creek. I've now seen deer my last three times on the Creek. Before that, I never had. Lots of alligators, but almost all went into the water, most in a big hurry, before I could get a photo. Here's the exception.
Wildlife on Blackwater Creek is not used to people. I saw no one in over 11 hours on the water this weekend. Meanwhile, I bet 150-200 people paddled the Wekiva between the State Park and Wekiva Marina/Island. Alligator story from yesterday. Paddling back up Blackwater, I heard a loud WHOMP ! on the water. This was just after the jonboat passed me. Could it be them, throwing something in the Creek, a bait net, a paddle. No, they were not in sight. But, a big gator was. Had to be its tail that made the noise.
Back to today. My favorite insect, riding shotgun. Dragonflies eat mosquitos. Tiger swallowtail butterflies eat nectar.

I was on the water 3 hours forty minutes. Kept it short as my arms were also tired from paddling almost 8 hours Saturday. Legs were shot. No hiking today. But I am going to attempt the Sulphur Island Loop trail again sometime. My plan is to access it at the point where it intersects the Florida Trail on Pine Road. Once I locate that blue blaze-not aqua- I should be OK.