Monday, April 05, 2010

Preparing for Florida

I was born and spent a good deal of the early part of my life on the Georgia/Florida border. Because the state of Florida was so accessible to me for all of my life I grew up with a certain amount of contempt for the place. I never have liked the highly attended tourist traps and the crowded aspects of many of the specific places there. I'm also not a fan of biting insects.

However, later if life I developed a keen love of the state of Florida. It's a much more geologically diverse place than I believed when I was a kid. There are features there that I thoroughly enjoy visiting and Carole and I make a point of seeking them out whenever we vacation in Florida. One of the things we most like to do is swim, canoe, and snorkel the first and second magnitude springs that dot the state. These places are pure fun for us and we never get tired of visiting them. And there always seems to be a new one to explore. In two weeks we'll be heading down to the panhandle of Florida. That part of the state is loaded with such springs and we're going to take our canoe along with us to float in some of these springs and to explore the runs and creeks that they produce.

This will probably be our single vacation of note before we go to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons late in the summer.

In DeLeon Springs. This was once a private park but, like most of the big springs in Florida, the state acquired it and transformed it into a state park site. It's partially developed in that it has concrete walls and stairs hemming it in. But it's a lot of fun to visit and splash around.

There was a sign-guided hiking trail. I spotted this fellow on one of the signs.

And if there's a big tree in a park, I try to find them and have my photo taken. This one is the only really big tree of note in that particular park. They say it's a 500-year old bald cypress.

A few reviews of THE FLOCK have erroneously mentioned that the terror birds in the novel reside in "the Everglades" and "a swamp". This is not so. I went to some lengths to explain that the birds thrive in the remnants of the old pine savannas that exist on the fictional abandoned bombing range in the novel. If you've wondered what these habitats look like, here's one that's located in Wekiwa Springs State Park. Now imagine a nine-foot tall terror bird stalking you through the grass.

This is Wekiwa Springs. It's one of the most appealing of Florida's springs that we've visited. We enjoyed swimming and sunning here, but we left early due to some foul-mouthed individuals who had set up shop on the lawn.

Manatees in Blue Springs State Park.

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