Last week, I decided to explore the area in Apopka known as Rock Springs Run. This is a river that leads 8 miles downstream to a marina at the junction of the Wekiva River. You can either paddle the 8 miles to the marina and take advantage of a $10 ride back to the launch point for your car or you can do as I did and paddle halfway down and go back to your origin. I chose to do it that way because I was alone and wasn't sure about leaving my kayak unattended while I was going to and from my car. That was a mistake because its quite difficult paddling upstream and needless to say, I was exhausted when I got back. This is all part of the kayaking experience though and now I know. Do your homework, go all the way and take the ride back. Its a lot easier on the muscles!! I took a few pictures along the way and would like to share them with you. Here ya go!!
I am just leaving the launch area from here. Its very muddy and smelly at this point and I'm hoping things improve once I'm out on the river.
Things do clean up considerably now that I'm on the river, but the foliage is very thick and it makes it difficult to navigate at times. The water also gets very shallow in spots so you have to be careful you don't ground. So far, I'm not too impressed with Rock Springs Run.
I've made it through the foliage now and have entered clear water and I'm also now in the Wekiva Springs State Park.
OK, things are starting to get much better. This is very pretty, quiet and definately the wild. There are birds in the area and turtles, fish and probably gators, but I didn't see them. Most likely, they saw me though.
This place makes you feel as though you're in an old Tarzan movie and you expect Johnny Weismueller to come flying out of the trees at any moment. As you can see, there are lots of downed trees, etc and that makes paddling difficult at times. I was having fun though in spite of the work the river was putting me through.
I can't tell you how peaceful and quiet it is on a river like this at 10AM when you are the only human on the river and you're gliding along in a kayak. At times, I would stop paddling and listen to the quiet interrupted only by the sound of a bird chirping or a turtle or fish in the water. You have to experience this to know what I mean!
This river is loaded with large turtles. I rode by several and took pictures. Most will wait till you are practically on top of them before they slink back into the water and the bravest of them stay right there as if to say they are not afraid of you. I managed to get a couple of good pictures of them. In this picture, they are resting on the bottom log. I drifted around to the left of the picture and the bravest one waited for me.
Here is the brave one I mentioned. He never moved at all and even looked back at me as if to dare me to come closer.
Here's a Momma Turtle with her little one.
Many of the trees in and on the river present obstacles which are kind of fun to navigate around.
Here's another Momma Turtle with a baby!
I got quite a surprise when I drifted around a bend and found a grown deer staring directly at me and standing not more than 10 feet away. This doe was not at all spooked by my sudden presence and I was more startled than she was. I turned around and came back to get a picture of her, but by that time she had moved back into the brush and was enjoying her breakfast. I could still her plainly through the brush but I'm afraid the camera couldn't see her as well. If you look carefully, you'll see her to the left of the picture. She continued to watch me and also ate without fear. There was another doe with her and that one was equally unafraid. These deer are protected and they apparently have no fear of humans unless you try to approach them. I wish the camera had seen what I saw, but this is as good as I could do for you.