Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kayaking, Camping, Biking, Seminole State Forest

I'm back from an overnight trip to the Seminole National Forest.   Actually, I've been back several hours, but unpacked, took a nap, and spent an hour figuring out how to find, copy and paste the photos to the Yak Tales. Reminder to self- do it the stick the card in the computer method.

After setting up camp at the Moccasin Springs site, I was on Blackwater Creek headed downstream at 9:40.

Twenty minutes to the day use launch site and bridge.

I did not get a lot of wildlife photos on this trip.

Not a lot of animal photos this trip.  Mostly alligators.

I saw many more gators than I have photos.  They were not inclined to stay on the bank for long. An exciting paddle with several gators jumping into the Creek. Leaping lizards!
 Entering the Wekiva River, 12:20 PM.

No one Blackwater. About 8 craft on the Wekiva. 2 kayaks, 2 jet skis, couple of pontoons and one criminal in an airboat. They aren’t allowed on the Wekiva system. Florida Statute 369.309

 This gator was in an area where I've seen manatees.  None today.

The osprey was on a tree just inside the St. Johns River that sometimes has an eagle perched. I turned back at 1:15.

This scofflaw was riding over the emergent vegetation. And drinking. Also not allowed. Chances are he did not get caught, the River is patrolled little, if it all. I’ve seen one police boat in seven years. Think I should send the pics to the FDLE? That's Florida Division of Law Enforcement. You can see his license in the first picture.

Back to Blackwater at 2:20.

Lunch at the usual spot.  Looks like a bear's lunch included acorns.

An older, drier, poop pyramid.

On the way down Creek, I thought, what jerk dumped a gas can in the water?  Not a gas can. Science.

The view, in two directions from the "Study Plot"

 I returned to port at 5:30. Almost 8 hours after I began.
Birds seen, not pictured, include; anhinga, belted kingfisher, blue heron, red shouldered hawk, and pileated woodpecker.
Moccasin Spring.
Went for a bike ride.

In addition to the gopher tortoise, I saw a deer and wild turkeys on the 7.2 mile ride.  And people at the Oaks Campsite, about a mile from my location.  Looking both ways from my picnic table.

I was making notes for this Tale as dinner cooked.  My usual steak and foil potatoes, onion and carrots.   I call the Moccasin Spring site "modified car camping".  Not true kayak camping, when everything has to fit in the yak, nor true car camping where you park next to your tent.  It's about 100 yards from the parking area to the site.   So, you can load up the car, but you have to ferry everything to the site.  I carried the bulk in the yak, then made two more trips.

8:55 PM
A frog symphony began after dark and continued into the wee hours.

For some reasson, the blog posted out of chronologial order.  The paddling pics should come before this view of my campsite.
I saw an ibis, some very noisy limpkins, an anhinga, and the first good view of a swallowtail kite this spring. Landed at 9:55 to cold coals and unperked coffee.  I had eaten some Ritz crackers on the paddle, supplemented that with some almonds and few bite of cold steak back at the camp site before setting out to find Palm Spring.

I had read it is "Veer left onto a horse trail and walk another 0.4 mile. Walk about 100 feet to the east toward the upper vent A of Palm Springs at the bottom of a ravine"   I'd say its more like .03 miles.  First, a .04 bike ride.  Then I walked the bike on the horse trail.  No wheeled vehicles are allowed, not to mention the sandy trail would be impassable.  I walked the bike so I could click off the mileage.  At 0.3 I came to an open area, at the top of a ravine.  But the directions were 0.4.  I went the .01, walked  east, nothing.  Back to where I thought it was.

These pics should be after the Creek photos, below.

It's good to be right now and then. Back up the steep ravine to look for more vents.

I walked north along the edge of the ravine, then down at what seemed a likely spot.  Maybe a deer trail to more spring vents.

I love "discovering" places like this.

 The trail to my campsite.
 Ready to leave. 
The black line is a swallow tail kite.  One of five soaring as I loaded the car.  Terrible picture, but, this is Dave's Yak Tales, and I, Dave, have to post the only wildlife shot I got on Sunday.

Video taken at 9:10.   Accompanied by barred owls, growling gators, and more.   I hope the gators weren't responding to me.  I have a cold, and when I clear my throat, it sounds like the late Phil Hartman doing Frankenstein. "Urrgggh, fire bad!"  

Plenty of stars in the sky, and lights landside.  Lots of fireflies.

As usual when I camp, I a bad night's sleep, or no sleep at all.  Even though I had two pillows for maximum comfort.   I was hot and sweaty when I turned in.  Shirtless.  By morning, I had on two shirts, long pants and had the sleeping bag, opened all the way, as a blanket.  Weather Underground reports today's low in nearby Sanford was 63.  Felt much cooler in the Forest.

I put the last of my charcaoal on the grill to get the coffee going.  It never got going, so I did in the kayak.  Up the Creek.

After 45 mintues or so, I came to a fork. Neither way looked too promising for this tired and hungry paddler, so I turned back.

This frok was easy to remember on the way back.  "Go on the side under the tree"


Luis said...

Camping...I do not think that is something we will experience. My wife does not come out of the kayak because she is afraid a bear will be nearby so...camping? Do not think so.

Sorry to ask this again but; How far did you say is the mouth of the Blackwater Creek from Katie's? This Friday is my day off and I may be on another solo paddle. Will be a good day to try Blackwater Creek...again.

Dave said...

Aboout 4 miles.

Octohawk said...

YES send the photo in! Even then I doubt that anything will happen, but it might possibly give them the heads up to patrol the waters a bit more, especially since the Wekiva gets so much use.

There are so many navigable waters in Florida that when I see a motorboat somewhere they're not allowed, it makes me want to throw my damn paddle in the air and run back to the wilderness of Colorado. But even there it was the same issue with dirtbikes and 4-wheelers and the like. If I know anything, it's that rednecks are everywhere. They just come in different breeds.

Dave said...

I did report it. Another reader responded much like Octohawk. "No, they probably
> won't track him down, but getting reports like that may
> inspire them to have law enforcement out there more often."

So far, no response.