Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weeki Wachee River

Day Two of my birthday weekend, Saturday, November 13, 2010, after breakfast of leftover steak and potaotes,  I drove 30 miles south of Crystal River to Weeki Wachee.  Just one car in the Rogers Park lot.  There is now a pay machine $5.    I launched a 9 am.  A few minutes later, I arrived at Hospital Hole.


Where four or five manatees enjoyed the warm water rising from the spring far below the surface.  I thought of joining them, but decided I'd wait until the air temp warmed up.




Just two slow moving motor boats until I was more than half way up River, when I began to encounter paddlers coming down the Weeki Wachee. My last time here, I wondered where the old State Park concessionaire puts in. When I finished today, I asked a State Park employee picking up paddlers at Rogers Park where the other outfit launches. The same place.as the new concessionaire.






I arrived at the "No Vessels Beyond This Point" sign, which is a short paddle up River from the Park launch, just past the tour boat dock, at 12:20. Like Homosassa Spring, the only way to view Weeki Wachee Spring is from inside the Park.


No one was at the launch area when I re-passed it.  I let the current do the work, the reward for the difficult up River paddle.  At least that's what I told a kayaker coming up River.



Two landing spots on the River were closed a few years ago due to assholes.  Excuse the language, but that is what they are.


I stopped on the bank to have a sandwich, just outside the Park property where no landing is allowed.   The guy who had paddled upstream, came by.  I asked if anyone was at the launch. Four people. I timed my day almost perfectly.  As I went further down the River, I began to pass people I had encountered on the way up. They certainly were in no hurry.  Only one of the blue rental motor boats on the water.


Back to Hospital Hole, I got into the water.


Mother and calf, observed from a distance. 

Sheepshead

Snapper
I got back in the kayak, and returned to Rogers Park.  No paddling to the Gulf and or Mud River this trip.   I was a bit tired after two paddles on Friday, and  I had to save something for Sunday.  Plus, I wanted to check out the Weeki Wachee Preserve. Here's a link.  My plan to stop at the Burnt Road entrance.  I  missed it. But, I had a very interesting, and scenic drive on Hernando County Road 595 through Hernando Beach and the hamlet of Aripeka.  Winding, bridges over coastal marshes, occasional Gulf views, a few tree lined areas. This is east of 597, Shoal Line Blvd.  Reminded me of the Ormond Loop in Volusia County.  It is marked as a bike route. Eventually, I found the Osowaw Blvd. entrance to the Preserve.




.  The Preserve is an old quarry. The lakes that dot it were dug out for limestone deposits, the spill forms mini Florida buttes.



The Ososaw Blvd entrance had a sign.  The Burnt Bridge entrance did not.  So I took a pic of the Coast Guard Auxiliary across Shoal Line Blvd to mark the location for my next visit.

The trails were hard, good biking surface.  But, from tire tracks looking fossil-like in the surface, I'm sure in the rainy season the track gets muddy.  I would not want to bike here in the rainy season.  That is summer, and their is little shade.



I took the paved road back to the entrance where I parked.  As it was the 2nd Saturday of the month, I could have driven in.  It also is allowed on the fourth Saturday.  Good if you want to kayak the lakes. A lot, well not a lot, 10 or so people parked where I did and walked along the road.

 This osprey is the only wildlife photo.  On the sign in sheet, one visitor wrote he saw deer and gopher tortoises


 I biked 6.75 miles. Finished a bit after 4:30. Headed back to Crystal River and the Kings Bay Lodge, thinking about where to go to dinner. But, when I drove past Rogers Park and saw the Upper Deck, I knew there was no sense going any further. Why go to some place where I have never been when it was 5 pm, I was hungry, and I knew the chef's specials start at 5:00. I had the chicken strips and shrimp over 4 cheese raviloi.




3 comments:

Dark Knight said...

The Hospital looks so clear. I was not that lucky on my only trip to the Weeki Wachee. Once again, great pics. Thanks

gainesville365 said...

I didn't realize the manatees were back until I was over by Crystal River last week and saw people on a bridge looking for them. I want to kayak there, in Crystal River Springs. Have you done that? Is it novice level? I don't want to get hit by a pontoon boat.

Dave said...

"I want to kayak there, in Crystal River Springs. Have you done that?"

g365, see the prior post.There is no "Crystal River" springs, but there are about 30 springs in Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River. Put "Crystal River" in the search box. I have about a half dozen Tales. I've seen maantees in August, they are just more common as it gets cooler. Kings Bay is big, open water can get choppy if its windy.