Just look a map of mid-central Florida: Juniper Springs, Rainbow Springs, Silver Springs. Salt Springs, LeLand Springs, Alexander Springs and on and on. One of Florida’s best kept secrets must be the multitude of springs that bubble quietly underneath the the sandy ground and into inland rivers and lakes. Many state and federal parks feature springs that are accessible for visitors to view by boat, canoe or kayak, or by swimming, snorkeling or diving. The water is a miracle of clarity, and the spring waters, at nearly 72 degrees contsant year-round, abound with aquatic plants, fish and turtles. The springs are lined with lush foliage and overhanging trees, where many water bird species dive for fish, while ducks paddle placidly, periodically bobbing their pert little tail feathers to the sky as they ‘duck’ their heads for food.
This particular area of the springs allows swimming only (no kayaks or other boats or boards.) We both enjoyed an amazing swim with goggles and Bob used a snorkle. Ok, well, Bob might be making it look a little colder than 72 degrees. The air temp was about 79 at the time, but it is no secret he does not carry much body fat for warmth. Hidden beneath these waters is a deep area, with rock ledges leading down into a cave where divers can explore. The spring bubbles out through the white sand, sending it into a sparkling, underwater whirlwind that reminds me of shaking an old fashioned snow globe. There is no clue of this from the shore, but the water is so clear that you easily peer down to the depths while swimming, especially on a calm, sunny day. Other sightings included an arm’s width sized turtle, and a myriad of fish of all sizes.
The campground is is pretty nicely wooded and the sites well-spaced. There are no electric or water hook-ups here, and the trailer is running on the propane tank. The weather is above average with high 70’s for our first two days, with lows in the high 50’s, with 81 forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas! We are fighting a little window condensation in the morning, as the propane heater we have is overkill to run throughout the night and we haven’t found the right air vent and fan combo to keep it well-ventilated, but not too chilly. It is easier with the electric heater, as that one doesn’t put out as much heat, and it can run all night at a low setting. It comes on at intervals and doesn’t cook us out.
Bathroom report: cleanliness is good, but the dhower beads blast out water that hurts, with no adjustments and lukewarm to telid water.
This is where Mimi had originally planned to stay at Alexander Springs for a six-week stay, to include while Bob is on his trip to St. John. We have, however, by word of mouth, found a more desirable park a little further south. It has electricity and water hook ups for easier living, cell service (we think) and is not as remote – closer mountain bike trails and other shopping and conveniences. We plan to stay here until the 26th and then re-locate. That park in Lithia does not take any reservations, but they assured us we can get in, even if we have to do a dry-camp wait for a day in their parking lot. (This does not change anything for my January visitors – we will be closer to different day trips from here than those from Alexander Springs. Anna Maria Island sound good?)
There is a bike trail here, and we did try that out today. Pictures are on my other camera (life ain’t simple even camping, ya know) and I will wait for my next post to report on that. Also, Santa came by Fed Ex today. He brought a special present, and you can find out what that is tomorrw. Or maybe not until Christmas 😉