Didn’t need to go to Plan B for today’s planned trip on Juniper Creek in the Ocala National Forest. The launch was open in the Recreation Area and we did the 7.2 mile trip down to SR 19 with only slightly higher than normal water level and current speed. Juniper is always loads of fun! With a fast current and so many twists and turns there was little time to take photos, but I got a few to share.
The upper section of the run is narrow and winding with crystal clear water.
Low bridge! Always lots of downed trees to maneuver over, under, around and through.
Button Bush – Cephalanthus occidentalis
A nice BIG gator – 10 feet or so. Not the big guy that lives on the Creek, but big enough!
Florida Red-bellied cooter – Pseudemys nelsoni
“The Rapids” – about 15 seconds of WHEEEEE!
Well, today we had a wonderful Plan B paddle.
We were scheduled to paddle the Juniper Creek run from the Recreation Area to SR 19. But Juniper Creek was closed due to high water after Tropical Storm Colin, so we abandoned Plan A and drove down to what was to have been our take out point at SR 19 (where there is no concessionaire to close things down if conditions exceed “Disney standards”) and paddled from there along Juniper Creek, Little Juniper Creek, Lake George (a wide spot in the St Johns River) and then up Silver Glen Springs run to the open recreation area at the springs.
The water was high and racing on Juniper Creek, but that only made it more fun and less paddling so our hands were free for photography. Little Juniper Creek was full of birds and nice and winding. Lake George was full of gators.
We ate lunch on a beautiful little sand island at the junction of Silver Glen Springs Run and Lake George and took a swim break there.
It was a wonderful day of blue skies and towering white clouds, great company, and lots of wildlife. Another most excellent day in paradise!
Juniper Creek under blue skies and white clouds
Little Juniper Creek – narrow and winding.
We coast along the western shore of expansive Lake George, a wide spot in the St Johns River.
Little Gator hiding in the cypress knees on Lake George. About 30 inches long. With a sandy bottom we were going to stop here for lunch, but decided not to!
We found a better spot for lunch and swimming on an island where the Silver Glen Springs run meets Lake George.
Silver Glen Springs was busy but inviting, so after loading up the kayaks we managed a cool dip.
Back again to Juniper Creek with a second set of friends to see if we can find more Grass-of-Parnasus. On the first trip we saw only one patch of Grass-of-Parnassus. On this second trip 4 days later there were many patches along about a 1/2 mile stretch of the middle creek.
Large-leaved Grass-of-Parnassus. Flowers about 2 inches across, stalks about 30 inches tall.
Closer view of Large-leaved Grass-of-Parnassus. Florida native, Florida endanged species.
No gator sightings on this trip, only a couple of Cooters out sunning in the cool weather, but there were lots of fall flowers in bloom, especially the Late Purple Aster.
Closeup of Late Purple Aster (Symphyotrichum patens)
Late Purple Aster (Symphyotrichum patens) was everywhere along the creek banks.
Once again, everyone enjoyed the 20 seconds of “Wheee” running through the “rapids”. It’s so much fun, we wish it were much longer.
Running “the Rapids”
The only thing hard is stopping at the bottom.
And the end you could swear it was snowing on us. If you click on the last picture to enlarge it you can really see the white flakes raining down on us and settling on the water. Actually, these are Baccharis latifolia seeds blown by the breeze, not that nasty stuff Yankees start getting about this time of year. Lots of Baccharis bushes along the last 2-3 miles of the run.
Lower creek, almost to the take-out and everyone is still smiling. Baccharis in background.
If you look closely you can see white seeds raining down on us.