Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lakes Maitland, Nina, and Minnehaha

The usual Wednesday morning paddle on a windy Maitland half of the Winter Park Chain.
 Under way at 8:45

The canal and small Lake Nina offer protection from the wind.

The Fallout Shelter sign I mentioned last week. Which got me thinking.  With no basements, what did Florida use for for fallout shelters during the Cold War?

 A brief shower.  I kept my sunglasses on.

Dark and stormy Lake Maitland.  Threatening skies, no rain.

Landed at 10:25

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day, Mill Dam Lake Weekend, Day 4. Mill Dam Lake, Wildcat Lake

I think this morning's sunrise was the best of the weekend.

Of course, there was no sunrise Saturday.  Fog.

It was 6:20.  Went back to bed, but not to sleep.
 On the water at 7:18.  The sandhill crane family walked away, out of sight.

 Moorhen family

Mill Dam Lake residences.  Two years before I can move in.

Look back at the rental cabins.  Available to all ages, not just over 55
 Hawk? In a distant tree

Camp Kiwanas

Mill Dam Lake Recreation Area.  A unit of the Ocala National Forest

 A lone boat launched from the Mill Dam Lake Resort

The cabin I stayed in is on the far right.  No one to block my view to the west.  All have north views.
 This one would be good.  Th gray one where the Lake meets a canal
Closer look at my cabin, No. 1

The crane family was back

Landed at 8:17.  Tour of the inside

I thought of waiting until after I packed before taking the pictures, but as I photo wildlife in a natural state, I decided I'd do the same to my den.
 10:55, ready to go.  I headed to the Ocklawha, and the ramp at Eureka.  But, I changed my mind, thought Salt Springs Run was closer, and I could see how crowded the Springs were from the water.
The entrance road to the Salt Springs Marina.  Must have been just before I began to see pickups and trailers parked on the side.  Both sides. Oh, oh.  Maybe there would be a space near the kayak launch area. No.  Two trailers in line at the boat ramp.  I left.  Where to go?  Thought of driving east on Highway 40 to Tomoka River State Park.  Paddle the Tomoka River, which goes into the Atlantic via the Halifax River, a day after paddling the Gulf.  Nice symmetry.  Instead, I decided to check out Wildcat Lake.  On the south side of 40, just east of 19.   I've stopped here a couple times in the past.  Saw eagles from the dock and a very nice fish.
 The above photo is from April, 2007.  The black bass are catch and release, so they get big.
Today, the parking lot was half full, so I paid the 4.25 fee, honor system, and was on the Lake at 12:05

Two eagles, one not yet bald

The eagles flanked a short channel that opened in to a little bay. It could be seen as a separate lake

 Anhinga in flight

Wood ducks in the lily pads, upper right.

The bald, bald eagle had left when I came back through the channel.

Same young eagle, different tree

Memorial Day festivities on the south end of the Lake.  I was the only paddler. I did see a pickup with paddle boards leaving when I arrived.   People were fishing, one boat pulled a tube, plenty of room for all. And this was on Memorial Day.  On a normal weekend, I suspect Wildcat Lake is almost empty.
 This red winged blackbird chased off a red shouldered hawk.   Soon after, I saw a swallowtail kite. Also a couple osprey
I counted 3 residences as I paddled around the lake
 Swim area
Landed at 10 after 2.  Wildcat Cat Lake reminded me a bit of Lake Norris, but the former has more little bays. Lake Norris, at 1160 acres, is 3x the size of Wildcat Lake, 335 acres.  Which shows my lack of sie judgment.  I was thinking they were about the same size.  I obtained the stats from Lake County wateratlas

I like Wildcat Lake.  Too bad it took 8 years to finally put the kayak in.  Speaking of not doing something, I had yet to get the bikes off the car.  Well, I did leave the trail bike at the cabin when I went to Cedar Key.  But that was for improved gas mileage.  So, I stopped at the Lake Woodruff  National Wildlife Refuge.  On the way, I saw my first coyote.  Running across 40, just west of the bridge over the St. Johns.  At least I think it was a coyote.
 Thought I bike the berms, something I did a few years ago.   Guess I did not see, or ignored, the No Vehicles sign.  And slash through the bike symbol.  So, even though a guy walked through the gate with a bike, I left mine on the car.
I first walked a shaded trail

 Into the sun
 Two bald eagles circled high above.  Too far for a photo.

Spring Garden Lake

Views from the observation tower

 Back on the ground

2 mile walk. just under an hour.  Hot, but not as bad as it will be soon.  All in all, a great weekend. Temps in the 80's moderate humidity, blue skies.  Windy at times, but I muddled through.