Friday, May 06, 2016

Springs

The thing Carole and I enjoy the most when we go to Florida is seeking out and exploring the enormous freshwater springs that emerge from the karst topography of the state. We had hit many of them, but there are so many that we know that there are always new ones to discover. This year we were hoping to see and experience many of the big springs that line the shores of the Suwannee River in the north of the state.

However, seeing those springs is a hit-or-miss option since they Suwannee often overruns its banks and subsequently the tea-colored water of that river "blacks out" the freshwater springs. This happened to us once before when we journeyed there to kayak and snorkel. And,  alas, it happened again. The river was up many feet above flood stage and this killed off our chance to see the dozens of first, second, and third degree springs along its banks.

However, there are always some springs that emerge from higher areas of the state and we fell back on seeing some of those. The first one we decided to hit was Ichetucknee Springs. That one is an old favorite of ours, and a very popular destination of most of the residents of northern Florida and southern Georgia. You can almost always count on huge, noisy crowds on the Ichetucknee.

The one great thing about this trip to those springs was that they were almost deserted. For about an hour, we had the Ichetucknee Head Spring all to ourselves. It was pure bliss.

(Tomorrow,  the springs of the Wacissa River.)

The view of the Head Springs that greeted us.
Jump in!

Underwater beauty.

Swimming the day away in Ichetucknee Springs.


Thursday, May 05, 2016

Return

This is my first chance to post since we got back. We had a great time and explored some new areas and revisited a couple of old favorites. I'll post details as I can find the time.

For the first time in many vacations I actually got a fair amount of writing done. I was able to work steadily on one of my novels which is a rarity when I'm on vacation. During such times I'm either too busy outdoors or too tired after returning to our Casita travel trailer. This trip was different and I was able to get some real work done on a project.

Look for more video and photos in a day or so.

A Rough-scaled green snake we saw at Deer Lake State Park. It looks menacing but is actually a harmless (to humans) constrictor that is non-venomous. This one was about a foot and a half long. Very thin.
The circa 1849 plantation house at Torryea State Park. Just behind this mansion is a 100-foot-tall bluff overlooking the Apalachicola River and the plains beyond. One does not typically see vertical relief of that nature in Florida. It was a surprise. The house contains the second largest collection of Louis XIV furniture in North America (or so we were told).

Friday, April 22, 2016

One Last Task

I had one last thing to do before we had the trailer and truck ready for the trip. I had to take care of the nest of baby birds.

I had a tank of propane filled and took that with me. At the trailer I removed the tank cover and carefully disconnected the tank that the bird had used as substrate for her nest. I could see the babies peeking out at me and one of the parents was obviously in there.

I transferred the nest and accompanying tank to a chair. Then I placed a plastic bucket atop the tank to protect the nest and leave it as much like the previous setup as possible. To keep the wind from knocking the shelter from the nest I placed a chunk of concrete block on top to hold it solidly in place.

It seemed to work just fine. Hopefully when we come back the birds will have fledged and begun their adult lives.

The replacement tank I brought with me.

The nest. They weren't bluebirds. Probably wrens. Not sure.

The birds. I'm pretty sure that's mama or papa on the left. one of the babies visible in the shadow.

The setup as I left it. I tried rigging it with the tank cover from the trailer but it wouldn't work. So I used this plastic bucket.

So now we can leave without hurting the birds.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

To the Moon!

Well, we're not going to the Moon, but I won't be posting for a bit as we head south for a week or so of camping and kayaking and snorkeling. No posts for me. I do hope to spend my evenings working on my current novel.

Later!

Ecofina Springs.

Juniper Spring.
Kayaking the Ichetucknee River.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Cascades Video

I don't have a lot of time for blogging right now. Busy with various projects.

However...here's a video of a 2011 hike Carole and I took to see The Cascades near Blacksburg, Virginia. It's an extremely impressive waterfall with a fantastic plunge pool at the base that is perfect for swimming on a hot summer day (which we did).

The famous Cascades.

A leisurely hike and swim.

A truly well engineered hiking trail.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Buffing the Casita

Well, we're getting ready for a road trip with the Casita. So I used the new Black & Decker buffer on the fiberglass instead of the old elbow grease and a brush. I have to say it worked a heck of a lot better and got excellent results.

One minor problem was this: the propane tanks needed to be refilled so I removed the cover so that I could take them off and carry them to a propane station. As soon as I took the cover off I saw that a bird's nest had been built on top of the right canister. I was about to brush it off when I saw movement and looked closer to see three baby bluebirds.

Well, I am not a monster so I quickly replaced the tank cover. Tomorrow I will build a stand and put the tank with the bird's nest on it and leave the tank cover over it. It's only cosmetic and it won't hurt to take a trip without it over the tanks. And I have a spare tank that I can use in place of the one with the bird nest so I don't even have to transfer the nest to something else.

Hopefully, Mama Bird will be okay with the slight change and continue to raise her brood successfully.

Scrub-a-dub-dub.

I'll do the propane tanks tomorrow...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Magic at the Peaks of Otter

The world is a hard, unforgiving place. But fortunately it is also a vast and beautiful place. This is why I go out hunting for that beauty which seems to be standing around turn of the trail.

At the Peaks of Otter.

Wandering around the Peaks of Otter.

The magic of a winter ice storm.