I kayaked the Silver River today, Saturday, June 26, 2010. A hot day, just looked at weather.com, its 92 in Silver Springs at 6:30 pm. A chilly 89, here in Winter Park. Got an early start, in the water at 7:25. A worker was already at the entrance booth at Ray's Wayside Park to collect my $5. A couple launched just as I arrived, 2 anglers in a small boat headed out.
It was 30 minutes before I took my first photo. After the cormorant, the animal contact increased.
The yellow crowned night herons were, I think, tending a nest. Several more of these striking birds were in the area.
Lots of wood ducks. All the adults I saw were female, but for the one in the lead in the above photo.
I did not see the other two kayakers for a while, and thought they may have gone down the Silver, to the Ocklawaha River. Eventually, I saw them. I figured they would take a break at the Silver River State Park canoe launch. I was wrong, they stopped earlier, at about the only other place to stop, an indentation on the right side of the River.
I passed the State Park Canoe launch about 8:30, no one was there. Nor was anyone at the overlook a bit farther up River. Other than the alligator in the opening photo. Which reminds me. A snorkeler was attacked by an alligator in the Silver River earlier this week. http://www.ocala.com/article/20100623/articles/100629902
I snorkeled the Silver the first two times I visited. Having done it, and seeing how many gators there are, I haven't been in the water for several years. This incident may keep me out for good.
Arrived at the main Spring at 9:30. Saw no one at the theme park, not even a worker. It opens at 10:00.
I got to check out the many springs with out having a glass bottom tour boat on my tail.
As stated earlier, I saw many female wood ducks.
Just down River of the turtle and wood ducks, a thin, narrow tree went horizontal. Monkeys ! They climb saplings as high as they can, often their weight is too much, the trees sway, and the rhesus monkeys jump to the next tree. This was taking place in a heavily vegetated area, I had brief looks ant a couple small monkeys, but no pictures.
This alligator may explain why they did not come closer to the River.
I was about 30 minutes on the way back when I began to encounter people, paddlers and motor, going up River.
The Silver River is and Idle Speed, No Wake, River. Some motor boaters can't read. No fishing, either. With more traffic, and getting later, I saw less wildlife. Here is the last photo from the Silver River.
Taken down River of the canal that leads to Ray's Wayside. The Silver is short, just over 5 miles. And, I had no monkey pics. So, I paddled to the Ocklawa River, and up the Ock for about 20 minutes.
The next pic is where the Ock meets the Silver. Note the contrast between the spring fed Silver and rain and runoff fed Ocklawaha.
I landed about 1 pm. I had not stopped since I left at 7:25. I had lunch as I floated down River. There were less cars then I expected in the parking lot. It held more in March. Of course, the weather was better then. Fine with me, I'll paddle in any weather. Next stop, Silver River State Park, for a bike ride. Three miles away. There are 15 miles of hiking/biking trails in the Park, Bikes are allowed on all trails, not just the 4.5 mile loop that is marked for bikes. At the entrance, the friendly ranger (I have yet to meet an unfriendly ranger at a Florida State Park) advised that the Sandhill Trail, is. Sandy, and not good for biking. I chose to stay on the marked bike trail. I also chose to wear my helmet. Glad I did. Can't duck as low on a mountain bike than on a road bike.
Whacked my noggin here. Maybe a baseball cap would have fit, as the helmet is higher than my bare head.
The trail varies in width, and at one point, you ride on an old asphalt road for a short distance. A loop in the loop, the Fort King Loop, is single track. That's mountain bike lingo for a path that's no wider than the bike. Saw a flock of wild turkeys in this section. Later on, a black snake.
Ride stats. 44 min 4o sec, 4.75 miles, 6.3 avg, 11.1 max. Taking up off road biking after 50, the only thing I will "shred" to use another biking term, is my breakfast cereal.
Outside all day in 90 degree weather, the question was, which spring should I cool off in? No swimming at Sliver River State Park. I went to Silver Glen Spring.
Which was packed. And I don't mean the stripped bass in the spring hole.
Despite all the feet stirring up the bottom, I was able to find some clear water.
The swim was very refreshing, and as new trial riding thing leaves me a bit dirty, knobby tires on dirt kick up a lot of grime on the rider, cleansing as well. A fine day kayaking the Silver River, biking in Silver River State Park, and snorkeling in Silver Glen Springs.