Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Silver River

Manatees or monkeys? That's the question I faced when deciding where to kayak today, Sunday, December 19, 2010.  Blue Spring or the Silver River?  The Silver River is a longer driver, 90 minutes plus compared to 45 minutes or so.  With the Packers playing the Sunday night game, I had plenty of time for a drive.  And the forecast for Silver Springs was one degree higher, 60, then the 59 predicted for Orange City.  Less wind too. 10% rain chance both places.   So, off to Rays Wayside Park to paddle the Silver River.  Rain the entire drive.  Not real rain, just a constant mist.  It stopped shortly after I launched at 9:50.

Less than 30 minutes later, a canoeing couple had stopped, camera pointed into the forest.  I aimed mine.

Monkey business complete, I continued paddling up the spring fed Silver River.

Last week on Sanibel Island, I saw several black crowned night herons, but only one photo as the would take off on my approach.  Not so on the Silver River.

The black crowned night heron is the blue and white bird.  With the dark top, or crown.

I was muttering to myself about the weather, cool and cloudy.  But, that keeps people off the River.  The two canoers at the monkeys,  one powerboat, two kayakers down the River.

Juvenile black crowned night heron

Colorful leaves and birds.

A bit cool, but I spotted an alligator.

Arrived at the theme park area at 12:10.

Over the head spring

 Another spring.

Just as a tour boat driver was telling his passengers, "There usually are lots of alligators around, but not today" I saw three.

Propelled by over 500 million gallons flowing daily from the springs, I made my way back down River.

Just before the Silver River State Park landing, more monkeys.

I took a break at the State Park landing.  As I ate, 4 paddlers landing, the biggest group I saw all day.  First time visitors, it was worth the drive from Delaware.  And worth it for me, as they pushed me off.

This is new.  A parcel of private land on the mostly State owned river front.  At a little cove just down stream from the Park landing.  I used to stop here.  Then, a single No Trespassing sign was put up, followed by numerous signs, now, this.

 The folks I chatted with at the landing asked about otters.  I told them I can't recall seeing any.  So, of course, later on, I did.
A big one, to bad I could not get a good photo.

We talked about deer, which I had seen before.  And today.

Monkeys, alligators, an otter, a pair of deer, what a day.  But wait, there's more. Twenty minutes after the deer, I saw a animal head in the water.  Crossing the River.  Followed by another.  Those are some dark deer, I thought.  I got closer, not deer hogs.  I never thought about swimming hogs, but there they were. Unable to get a swimming shot.

I passed the canal leading to Rays Wayside, to the point where the clear water of the Silver River joins the dark Ocklawaha.
I paddled up the Ock for about 15 minutes.

Back to the Silver, past a last great blue hereon where the River meets the canal, I landed about 4:10.

I had a debate with myself if I would stop at one of the springs in the Ocala National Forest on the way home, despite the cool, low 50's weather.  Time, not weather prevented be from doing so.  Juniper Springs is on the way, but I did not want to pay 5 bucks for 20 minutes or so as the Recreation Area closes as sunset.

1 comment:

Beverly Hill said...

We did Silver River this past summer. Didn't spot a single monkey but did see quite a few alligators. I look forward to paddling it again soon but first I get to tackle Crystal River. :)