Paddled Rock Springs Run again today, Saturday, August 7, 2010. Was undecided on wear to go, slept in bit, and thought, with a 60% chance of rain forecast, and a late start, may as where go someplace beautiful, with a chance for spectacular wildlife, that's close to home. I was in the water at Wekiwa Springs State Park at 9:00 am. The parking lots were already 2/3 full. The rental concession opens at 9:00, so no one was on the water. A trio of tri colored herons in the lagoon, along with an alligator and a blue heron. On to the Wekiwa River, watching the fish under my kayak as I langidly made way down River to Rock Springs Run.
On the Run in twenty minutes, to begin the upstream paddle. I had thoughts of going all the way to the "Third Landing" in Kelly Park, or at least to the end of the State Park's waters. Seeing a blue heron, I got ready to take a picture. Noticed the lens was out. Odd, I had not turned it on for a while, it should have retracted long ago. I pushed the on/off button a few time, took the battery out, back in. That did it. Took the picture. The lens did not retract. "Lens error, restart camera" read the obvious message. I repeated the battery in out, disk in out, this time the lens stubbornly remained extended. No you know why there are no photos. The ones I took of the tri colored herons in the lagoon were fuzzy, as was the blue heron I took just before the camera died.
Disappointed, I did the only thing I could do. Kept paddling. And trying to remember when I bought the camera. I bought a two year warranty. Was it still in effect? If it was, would a defunct company, Circuit City, honor it?
I saw ibis, great egrets, great blue herons, cardinals, other song birds, turtles. The water is clearer than usual, so all sorts of bass and panfish could be viewed. The broke camera quelled my desire for an extended paddle. A great gator photo opp, sunning on the bank, was missed. I could have got some nice swallow tail kite photos. Two, flying low near the Big Buck Camp site. All three campsites were empty on the way up. The first paddlers were three guys in a canoe, near Otter Camp. I figured they were coming back from an early start headed up the Run. Then, no one until I was past Big Buck. Which is about the half way point to the Kings Landing launch site and rental concession. One kayaker asked, "About a mile to the park?" "More like four" "Four?!" Eight, maybe ten people all told. Clouds covered the previously blue sky, thunder rumbled. I decided to turn back. But, here comes a kayaker, I'll keep going, let her, and the others get ahead, then a canoeing couple, I kept going up the Run, into the shaded portion up Run of Big Buck, until they were out of earshot. No one coming downstream, I turned around.
Drifted, so not to catch anyone. The swallowtail kites still flying, low over the pines. Several of the downstream paddlers had stopped to take breaks. One couple had a grill going on the bank. Doubt that's legal in the Park lands. In fact, there's a sign at the launch at Wekiwa Springs State Park that states the only places you can land are Wekiva Marina and the campsites. So a fire is probably illegal. And dumb, in a forest. I was going to stop at Big Buck, but others had decided to do the same thing. I don't like to share. So, I continued down the Run, stopping on a sand bar. Not an out of the water sandbar, just a spot to stop the yak. Got out, topped of the water bottle, grabbed a sandwich, peed, and went on my way. No deer, in this area that is good for seeing them. More people at Indian Mound Camp. The "One mile?" kayaker, actually kayakers, a tandem, and four ladies who had come up the Run. They all were leaving just as I arrived, I eventually, got ahead of them. I like people, just don't want to see or hear them on the water.
Distant thunder, and light rain, gave additional incentive to paddle quickly. But the rain stopped, I could no longer hear voices, so I slowed down.
A rustle in the trees. Squirrel. Or was is? It continued, I saw where it was coming from. A tree top with a clump of brown leaves, in contrast to the green all around it. That's some squirrel to be making that much noise, and bending the branch. It was a bear! First one I've seen on Rock Springs Run since September, first one I've seen anywhere since Christmas Eve in the Seminole State Forest. The current carried me below its lofty den. I stopped on the bank, got the camera out, maybe time healed it. Nope. Paddled back up stream for another look. Got a great view of the black head, round ears, white nose, peering through the leaves. Would have made a great picture. I heard people coming behind me, I went on my way, calling back for them to look up for the bear.
Out of the canopied section, into the marshy area. Where I saw two bucks and a doe Wednesday. No deer at all today. An otter briefly popped it head up. A few more sprinkles. And thunder. Which I thought would hold down the Saturday crowd when I got back to the Wekiva. It did, but not by much. I landed about 1:00. I had the road bike in the car, for a ride on the Park road, but the crowd, and curiosity about the camera had be head home. Didn't even take a dip in the Spring.
Got home, found the receipt for the current camera. Canon Powershot SD1100. This is the fourth generation. A generous group of family and friends, wanting to see photos added to the emails I was sending them, bought me a Canon Powershot 400, with a 1 year warranty, for my birthday,in November 2005. Smart folks, I dropped it in the Run to "The Crack" at Chassahowitzka within the warranty period. Not just a warranty, no questions asked coverage. I sent the camera to be repaired or replaced, it was replaced with a Powershot 450. That one got dropped on the kitchen floor, after the warranty had expired. I replaced it with a Powershot 600. Which still takes photos, but the view screen as broken. I can use it the old fashioned way, closing one eye, looking through the viewfinder. Before I go out, I need to plug it into the TV, where I can see the modes- normal, flash, underwater, sunset, and set the camera appropriately. I'll put it on flash tomorrow. That way no need to worry about changing light conditions. Thinking of heading back to Rock Springs Run. Looking for the bear.
I bought the current camera, Powershot 1100, as not having the view screen is a PITA. I bought it in October 2008, so the 25 month warranty is still good. And, despite Circuit City being out of business, will be honored. I had to do some searching on the web, but found the right place. After an initial frustrating phone call, I got through, and a box is on its way to my house to send the camera for service/replacement. Based on prior experience, I should have a new camera in about 2 weeks.