What a great day paddling yesterday on the Santa Fe River leading a trip for the Florida Trail Association! Rain was predicted but we thought we could squeeze in a morning paddle and indeed the thunderstorms held off until we were sitting in the restaurant in High Springs on our way home.
We did a short little 5-mile section near High Springs, FL from US 27 to Rum Island Park. This stretch is one of our favorites for summer paddles because it includes several springs for swim breaks to cool off.
Good weather, wonderful scenery, cool springs and laid-back paddling companions – it doesn’t get much better than that!
Blue skies over the Santa Fe near Poe Springs County Park.
Swim break at Poe Springs County Park. An Alachua County that is FREE! And except for hot summer weekends it is usually empty.
Rest break at Lily Springs – without Naked Ed.
A look down Lily Springs run from Naked Ed’s usual perch.
Beautiful Jonathan Springs run.
Kayaks over Rum Island Spring.
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) The only stork breeding in the United States. They are on the threatened list, but we’ve been seeing more and more of them in north Florida over the past 2 years.
A great but rainy morning on the Rainbow River today. With a reported “aggressive gator” hanging out around the boat ramp near K.P. Hole County Park, they have closed all swimming and tubing at both the county park and Rainbow Springs State Park. So due to the gator scare and the off and on sprinkles all day we were one of only two cars in the parking lot at K.P. Hole!
The river was SOOOO peaceful and quiet. Saw lots of wet birds hunkered down along the river. There were many Anhinga and Cormorants – neither of which have oil glands – perched on stumps trying to dry out their wings. And got to couple of pics of a Snowy Egret, which we have not seen on the Rainbow before. Come to think of it, our last truly great paddle on the Rainbow was also on a misty morning last year. The mist on the water and the saturation of color is just gorgeous.
Paddling in the clouds.
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
And a Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) trying to dry his wings
A very wet female Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) trying to dry her wings.
A pair of Double-crested Cormorants hunkered down in the rain.
Immature Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) on a Wood Duck box. He’s about half-way between his baby white phase and his adult blue phase.