Friday, May 12, 2017

Holmes Creek Paddle to Cypress Springs.

One of the places we wanted to kayak was Holmes Creek. It was conveniently located near the first campground we used at Falling Waters State Park.

One thing that all of the literature we had read indicated was that Cypress Springs is extremely popular with the locals and to expect crowds if you go on the weekend. Of course we wanted to avoid going on a Saturday or Sunday, but because of our traveling schedule we had to do it on a Saturday, or not at all.


As the literature had warned, we encountered a huge crowd by the time we arrived. We left early, but the multitudes had set out even earlier. I knew we were in for a troublesome visit when I saw one guy in a kayak paddling toward the head spring with a 20-lb propane tank on his kayak.


Most of the land around Cypress Spring is privately owned. It used to be almost impossible to disembark there, but either the state or the local government must have reached some kind of accommodation with the landowner(s) because now there is a strip of land where you can beach your kayaks/canoes. Of course that beach was packed to capacity as we got there so we settled on nesting our kayaks among tree roots and climbing out to go swimming and snorkeling.

Cypress Springs itself is pretty damned impressive. It has one of the most obvious and powerful spring boils I have encountered in Florida. The water was extremely clear, even with all of those scores of cigarette-smoking, music-blaring morons surrounding the water's edge.

I had a pretty good time swimming and diving and observing the aquatic critters. We were there for about an hour before the negative vibes got to us and we headed back down the waterway.

Another thing about Holmes Creek is that as you get to the spring the water becomes more and more clear and beautiful. And the land along the creek becomes more and more privately owned. Dozens were the "KEEP OUT" signs on dry land. Don't get out there. Seriously. As we passed one of these sections a land owner was sitting in his fancy ATV along the banks watching us. I will guarantee you the guy was armed and ready to brandish a gun if you dared to try to beach along his property boundary. These are the same people from whom my father came. When you see a 'Keep Out' sign or a Private Property boundary you'd better, by God, stay off. I'm serious. These things were drilled into my psyche by my late father. Don't test these folk. I'm just warning you guys who do not hail from such stock or from places where a man's property rights are guarded on a level that is extreme and insane.

I always try to inform my Yankee and Midwest pals about this. Usually they ignore me, thinking that I'm kidding or exaggerating (I am not). Hopefully they won't have to find out the hard way to obey those signs when they encounter them.

Just at the put-in point at a county park.

About a half mile before you get to the spring the water becomes crystal clear.

Carole's kayak has a keel and slices through the water. I can't keep up with her because my kayak has no keel.

The main spring. The folk across the way were, I assume, on a dab of public (or at least un-posted) property. They had a tent set up and had obviously been camping there for a day or so.

Gnarly old trees on one side of the creek.

I imagined dinosaurs creeping through this forest.

A quiet, uncrowded spot about 100 yards down from the head spring.

Getting close to our take out point. Big bluffs above the creek.

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