Juniper Creek – May 23, 2015

We had a wonderful paddle for the holiday weekend on Juniper Creek in the Ocala National Forest.  We put in at Juniper Springs Recreation Area and took out at Juniper Wyaside on SR 19, dpoing our own shuttle.  Shuttle service and rentals are available at the Rec Area for those without boats.  They rent canoes and kayaks, but we strongly recommend kayaks since they are shorter and more maneuverable.

Juniper Creek is 7.2 miles of twists and turns and low trees on crystal clear water through a designated Juniper Springs Wilderness Area.  We’re always a little sore after Juniper because of the jinking and gyring about, but we love it and return again and again.  Loads of people out there today for the holiday, but once on the run they tend to spread out.

Juniper Creek is a “No-Disposables” run and they will check your coolers at the launch site.  So be sure to take alone plenty of water in Nalgene or bicycle-type bottles and pack your lunch/snacks in tupperware-style containers or dry bags.  Also, if you plan on doing your own shuttle, be aware that the Juniper Wayside take-out parking lot is very small – only room for about 15 cars if none of them have trailers.  So on weekends and holidays, plan on having your shuttle vehicle(s) there before about 9 am in order to get a parking spot.

Narrow and twisting

Narrow and twisting

Low bridge on the Juniper Creek run

Low bridge on  Juniper Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

A familiar sight on Juniper Creek, but it's all just part of the fun

A familiar sight on Juniper Creek, but it’s all just part of the fun

Another familar sight, dodging fallen trees and stumps in the water

Another familiar sight, dodging fallen trees and stumps in the water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another obstacle to negotiate

Another obstacle to negotiate

Close up of either an Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) or Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa) dragonfly that landed on a yellow kayak paddle

Close up of either an Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) or Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa) dragonfly attracted to a yellow kayak paddle