Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The "Tuck"

The Ichetucknee River is affectionately called "the Tuck" by many who love her. If you've never been there, I pity you. Like some other rivers in Florida, it appears whole-cloth from the earth in the form of a series of gigantic freshwater springs that disgorge millions of gallons per day of gloriously clear, pure, fresh water. The State of Florida has been buying up these springs over the decades. In the past, many were in private hands, but gradually the State has been taking possession of them through buyouts and tax packages until now only a small handful of them remain in private hands.

The Ichetucknee River is one that has been public property for quite some time. You will encounter no houses along the river as it courses through the park. No buildings. No acreage denuded of forest cover. What you will see are the great springs that birth it, and the glorious course of "the Tuck". And as you kayak, canoe, tube, or swim the river, you will also see much wildlife. As with most of the parks of Florida, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is packed with native fauna.

We stopped along the shore here to go swimming.

When I was a kid, we'd jump off the limestone bank here. But the Park doesn't allow that now because of the damage so many people were causing to the shrubs and trees that grow there. The water appears shallow here because of the clarity of the water, but it's actually quite deep.

You might see water this clear and pure elsewhere, but I doubt it.
Others precede us downriver as we allow the current to take us along.

Old log on the river floor as I went snorkeling.
Native underwater grasses.


MarkGelbart said...

Over 30 species of late Pleistocene fossils have been found in this river.

You're supposed to have a permit to collect fossils in Florida.

That law is probably as enforceable as laws against smoking pot.

HemlockMan said...

Whenever I have snorkeled in Ichetucknee I have seen many fossils. Most of them are rather mundane, but of course gathering fossils has never been my aim when on the river or in the headsprings.

I've never known a ranger to bother anyone about what's in their pockets when climbing out of those springs, so you're right there. I have, however, seen State Park rangers taking reefer from young people. They don't arrest them, just take their joints and baggies and fuss at them a little.

Once in one of the head springs I did find a small fossilized bone while I was snorkeling. I have no idea what it was, but it looked to be some kind of toe or finger bone. I dropped it back in the water where it floated to the bottom and mixed up with all of the millions of other pale bits of stone and rock.