Just a short trip on the Santa Fe River this Wednesday. Partly to check out the water level for a large newbie trip in June and partly just to escape the heat and humidity now in north Florida. We left a car down at Rum Island county Park and put in at the US 27 boat ramp.
The water level right now is REALLY low although the shoals both above and below Poe Springs are runnable on river right if you pick your line carefully.
Tripping down the Santa Fe at low water
We swam at Poe Springs to cool off altho we had to walk in rather than paddle in due to exposed rocks. We had the park all to ourselves for the 1/2 hour we were there.
Looking upstream on the Poe Spring run from the Santa Fe
Looking downstream on the Poe Spring run from the top of the spring
We walked into Lily Springs, too, because the spring run was too shallow to get our paddles deep enough into the water to get up against the current. The springs are full of algae and it looks really empty without Naked Ed in residence.
Lily Springs sure looks abandoned without Naked Ed in residence.
Lily Springs filled with algae. Water level at the top is just barely covering the first spring vent.
Jonathan Spring was flowing and pretty, although the rocks at the entrance were all exposed and had been moved apart to allow the run to flow through them. Rum Island Spring was low, but is still a great swimming hole.
A nice little Wednesday morning paddle on the Santa Fe River near High Springs, FL. Since in the past few months we have done US 27 to Rum Island several times, today we started at Rum Island County Park and paddled down to Santa Fe River Park at SR 47.
The Santa Fe River was up 1-2 feet after all the recent rain and the water was quick, tannin-stained, and full of suspended particles. The dark water pushed its way in to cover all except the strongest springs so we missed seeing many of our small favorites, but Gilchrist Blue Spring, Ginnie Spring and Dogwood Spring were beautiful. And with hardly anyone else on the river or playing in the springs (we saw 5 other kayaks, 2 tubers and 2 snorkelers the whole trip) it was a good day for a few underwater pics.
Santa Fe River just outside of Ginnie Springs, under Water Oaks and blue skies.
Santa Fe River reflections.
Gilchrist Blue Springs run.
A turtle swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs run – about a foot underwater
Underwater shot at Ginnie Springs. I loved the play of light on the sand bottom of the spring vent.
Another underwater shot at Ginnie Springs, again with light patterns on the bottom.
Dogwood Spring, just downstream from Ginnie Springs
Blue Fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis). They were really swarming this morning and loved our red kayak.
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.