Yesterday, Saturday, I paddled the lower part of Blackwater Creek, where it empties into the Wekiva River. Today, Sunday, July 17, 2011, we paddled the upper section, from the put in at the Lake Norris Conservation Area to Lake Norris. We, would be Stephanie S., and I. Steph works with me, and any one who says they want to go kayaking with me, and bring lunch, are welcome. I had told her Lake Norris rarely has any paddlers. So, of course when we arrived, there were 6 to 8 cars. A lot. But, when I saw bikes and a sun shade over the single picnic table I thought, "Adventure Race" It was. The folks at the table said the competitors were on the bike and run portion. Two non-racers had recently put in. We were on the water at 9:30.
It's a short paddle, upstream to Lake Norris. Longer if you have to portage over fallen logs. As we did, twice. I've been fortunate, I have not had to do any tree climbing for a while, dead fall I've encountered has been far enough down stream to say, "Well, I've been out long enough, this is a good spot to turn back." We met the other two kayakers coming back. I can't remember if it was before the first or second barrier. They made no mention of the barrier.
I thought the water level would be higher, but in addition to the blockages there were plenty of snags just under the surface of the dark water. Well, I thought, Lake Norris will be deep, and relaxing.
Deep, yes. Relaxing ? Well..... perhaps challenging would be a better word.
The cypress trees provide nesting platforms for osprey. Over 100 active nests have been counted on the Lake. On this July day, none we paddled past were active. I'd say we paddled about to the end of the white, Lake Norris Comservation Area
I had to take a vulture photo to get a bird.March is the time to see nesting birds. I'll be back, but I was surprised we saw so few birds today. A hawk and an ibis on the Creek, then the vultures and great egret on the Lake. Finally, I heard the familiar te tee te of osprey.
We finally saw some osprey, a trio flying high overhead. Thank goodness the cypress trees provide pleasant photos.
Empty osprey nest.
I call the above cypress, "the goal post tree" It looks more like a goal post during football season, when it has less leaves. As short time after this Steph saw a tree with an orange ribbon. I thought it may mark the way to the camping area, where, if unoccupied, we could take a break. It was, and we did. I could see camping here. A permit has to be obtained from Lake County, you send that in with a $50 deposit. Which may mean it is intended for groups. I'd just be the Yakdave group. A nice feature is a large covered shelter. Where we dined on Publix subs, out of the sun. Which moved in and out of some very dark clouds. We got back on the water, which was even rougher than before.
The shelter of Blackwater Creek was welcome.
I did say "our" cameras. Here are more photos, graciously provided by Stephanie.
At least Steph got a wildlife photo. She also commented, when we entered Lake Norris, maybe the wind is keeping the birds away. Could be, a Tale from July 5, 2009 is full of osprey and great egrets.
We only saw one of the adventure racers. Well, two, in a canoe. Another pair came into the transition area as we loaded the kayaks. I chatted with the couple at the transition. The gentleman said the races are free, he just finds good sites, and invites people. I did a search for "Lake Norris Adventure Race" and found this
The resource page for participants has a link to Dave's Yak Tales. I hope it was useful.