Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mill Dam Lake, Silver River, Juniper Creek

A delay in getting this Tale out. Wifi not working at Mill Dam Lake. I have had this problem before, here. For $53.00 a night, I won’t complain too much.


On the water at 8:44. Boat basin at Ray’s Wayside. Rain, and rain forecast all day. But, the last report I saw before going to day had dropped the forecast from 80% to 50%.

Anhinga, covering up.

Two monkeys were more optimistic about the weather.

Moisture does not enhance photo quality

Wood stork


Black crowned night heron
There was a deer back in the swamp
A bit later, the monkey in the opening photo

Blurry wood duck
It was hard to keep the lens clean.


Arrived at the main Spring at 10:53

My last visit, this area was closed, undergoing the final transition from privately run attraction to State Park.  The rocking chairs are new, the red and white tower ride thing, is gone.

If you could see this, the pink sign states No Admittance.  Yellow, Paddling Trail, with arrow pointing into the former area.  I obeyed the arrow.
 The former "Wilderness Waterway", once home to tour boats, and closed to the public, is open.  At least that is what I have read.  I entered near the main Spring.  Last time, I came in from the down River entry.
 New kayak launch.  If it had not been raining, I would have stopped and walked around.  $4.00 fee in addition to regular land entry fee.  I had 4 bucks and my Annual Pass, just in case.
This was cool
 Several generations of glass bottom boats.  Including, a paddle wheeler.  The State should consider a museum.
It is possible I was not supposed to be here.  I had passed another No Entry sign.  I told myself it meant no landing.  3 rangers and later, a fourth, were in the boat yard. None said anything.  A bit down stream, another no entry sign, for people coming up the waterway.  In the middle of the channel, so no mistaking it was for the water, not land.  Did I miss a turn?

The actual site of Fort King is Ocala.
 Highway 301 in west central Florida follows a Seminole War era trail from Fort King, to Fort Brooke (Tampa)



 Back to the main channel.  Steam still rising at 11:30



Belted kingfisher

I stopped at the State Park Landing.  The former Silver River State Park, combined with Silver Springs is now Silver River State Park 
New sign near the dock.  I though about taking a lunch break, but off the 72 degree River and not creating more heat my paddling, I was cold.  Swim trunks, light long sleeve shirt, windbreaker and cheap poncho were not enough off the River.  So, I took a leak, and continued paddling.





A long wait for the first turtle



Ate an apple an granola bar as I paddled.  Figured my sandwich would get soggy.






Wood storks

 From the new launch, I assume.  At the canal to Ray's Wayside

Landed at 2. To something I have never seen
 An empty parking lot.  A guy did come and launch his motorized canoe as I slowly changed into dry clothes.  The rain stopped.  And started again as I drove to the Mill Dam Lake Resort.  10 miles east.
My "cabin"


 The black box on the floor is a space heater.
Tried to download photos for this Tale, but the wi fi was not working.
 So, time to kayak.  Juniper Wayside is about 15 miles east of Mill Dam Lake.  On the way,is that a bear? Yes! North side of Highway 40.  I pulled over.  Hitting the horn with my elbow as I got out.  The bear was gone.  Don't know if it ran across Highway 40, or retreated into the forest.   Back in the car, on Juniper Creek at 5:05.
Sweetwater Spring.  I had the privilege of staying here last February.  Not hearing anyone I paddled in.  Of course, the week's occupants came down from the cabin.  I told them I would back out. 
 They said, oh no, we don't mind.  I asked if they had seen Bob the resident gator.  They had not, and said the gator was referred to as "Corncob"   From people feeding it, I wonder.......
Back to Juniper Creek


I hoped to see deer, paddling near dusk. No deer, but did see a bit of the sun.

 I will post animal pictures, no matter how blurry, when I only have one. Belted kingfisher. Also saw a lone great blue heron and a juvenile bald eagle, high over head.
Paddled past the launch, hoping something interesting might be in the big pine

No such luck
 Landed at 6:12
Saw two deer on the way back to Mill Dam Lake. Wi fi still not working.  Finished the Tale, Monday night, in Cedar Key.

1 comment:

Luis said...

The Silver River is a good place to paddle regardless the weather. The wildlife display is second to none.