Last week I once again had the privilege of going to Florida for a few days to enjoy kayaking on crystal clear springs and cycling some beautiful rail trails. It was another amazing trip with 19 other fun loving, adventurous souls. Life can be so much fun when your camping, eating and playing outdoors with a bunch of people who know how to have a good time. Some camped at the beautiful Silver Springs Campground and the Ichetucknee Family Campground. Others chose a nearby motel or B&B. I did both, camping two nights and staying for three nights at an Airbnb ran by a most fascinating lady. She had traveled to 80 different countries and had countless stories to keep one entertained. While there I met a lady from Minnesota, a man from Michigan, another lady from Canada, a couple from Paris and a couple from New York. It was a good experience.
The “Pungo Paddlers” (our groups official name) chose Silver Springs for our first day’s paddle. This is a beautiful place with much wildlife such as birds, alligators, monkeys, snakes and I’m sure others that I just didn’t see. Our second day was on the beautiful Weeki Wachee Springs. This river has a nice current with lots of turns thru some dense wooded areas before encountering some neat water front cabins and homes along the west end. There is not as much wildlife to see but you’re almost certain to see some large manatees. The third day we took on the Juniper Run beginning at Juniper Springs SP. When I’m paddling here, I feel as if I’m in a jungle. It is very narrow with lots of twists and turns and lots of large vegetation and trees extending into and across the water way. It is very common to get entangled in bushes or caught on a downed tree as you paddle. There is even a short little rapids area where one is almost certain to get a little water in your boat. This area had been closed for 3 weeks before we got there due to excessive bear activity. Day four took us to the Ichetucknee River beginning at Ichetucknee Springs SP. This is another beautiful float on crystal clear water which maintains a year round temperature of 72 degrees making it a popular tubing site. One is also very likely to see manatees on this river as well as lots of big fish swimming around. And I guarantee you’ll see hundreds and hundreds of large turtles. It isn’t unusual to see 10 or more lined up on a log. It seemed that each spring/river had its own personality but each shared in having crystal clear water and beautiful surroundings. They all make for some great adventures.
A few of us got in some cycling as well as paddling. Some rode the Santos Trail. I chose to ride the Withlacoochee Bay Trail and the Dunnellon Trail. They were all paved trails thru the woods or along the water making for some most enjoyable riding.
Overall it was another great week for the Pungo Paddlers. A special thanks goes to Dennis and Nancy for planning, coordinating and serving as leaders for our adventure. Well done! Looking forward to our next outing.