Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blackwater Creeek

Merry Christmas Eve.  I kayaked Blackwater Creek from the Seminole State Forest to the Wekiva River, the Wekiva to the St Johns River today, December 24, 2010. And back.   No one on Blackwater Creek.  Other then a bear.  Just two fishing boats on the Wekiva.
Launching in the Seminole State Forest requires a permit, which includes the combination to a locked gate.  I always enjoy locking the gate behind me, thinking I'm entering my private preserve.   A 2 mile drive, and I was at the launch site.  In the Creek just after 9.
Thirty minutes into the paddle, three kings, er, otters.

Limpkins and scenic Blackwater Creek.

I had a brief glance at a deer, a flash through the forest.  Many good looks a wood ducks.  They constantly took flight when I got within 20 yards.  15 minutes later, I'd approach, and again, a noisy take off. This repeated all the way down Creek.  All those ducks, just one photo.

Saw a large turkey flock, at least ten birds marching through the woods. Once again, too far to photo as I slowly made way down Blackwater Creek. Saving my strength for the return paddle.  Took two hours to reach my break spot.  I was not the only large mammal to relieve myself here.  
Bear poop.  How do I know?  Looks a lot like the stuff here

Back in the yak, I was seeing lots of robins. Very active, not landing for very long.  Finally, I caught this pair.

Black crowned night heron and into the Wekiva River at 11:45.

The Wekiva was flowing low and clear over a dozen miles from its source, Wekiwa Springs.

Lots of great blue herons and great egrets on the Wekiva.

Reached the St Johns River at 12:30.  It would have been nice to spend some time on a powerboat free St Johns, but after 3.5 hours, it was time to head back.

Four kayakers were taking a break, coming from Katie's Landing, taking out at Highbanks Marina. One way paddling, what's the sport in that?

At the entrance to Blackwater Creek, a turkey is well camouflaged among the cypress roots.
Up the Creek.
Stopped at my rest spot at 2.  Had a sandwich, walked around.  Another pile of bear scat.
Looks like a bear, or bears, has been hanging out here lately, or now, as I saw the bear in the opening photo. Grabbed the camera, shoot, ready, aim.  It was a big bear.  But, in the pic below, all you can see is the head as it hit a deep spot in the Creek.

 Into the woods, and gone.
That makes the last two Christmas Eves I've seen bears in the Seminole State Forest. Or close to it.  I think I was in Lower Wekiva State Preserve land when I saw today's bear.

The mercury got to 67 at Orlando International.  How high it go 35 miles north, who knows?  Warm enough for me to see three alligators.  One photo.

Returned to the launch, on the other side of the bridge, at 3:50.   Almost seven hours on the water.  But, I was not done. 
Went for a bike ride.  Checked out the Moccasin Spring site, where I spent the night last Christmas Eve.

I thought it was to cool to sleep outdoors this year.  As did everybody else, as the site was unoccupied.  As was the Oaks site.  I rode just  over 7 miles.  Don't have exact stats, as they disappear after I take the odometer off the bike.  Saw on deer. Ran across the road, leaping over shrubbery on the other side, bending its hind legs to clear the bushes---like it was flying.   Like one of Santa's reindeer.

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