Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Springs Adventures

Tuesday my friend Jenn was in town from Seattle, so I took the day off and we went to Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The Ichetucknee River is a tributary of the Santa Fe, and it's spring-fed -- totally clear all year-round. It's an incomplete summer when I don't go down this river in a rented inner tube at least once. But I've never spent much time at the springhead, which is a series of swimming holes at the north end of the river -- the origin of the river, I suppose.

It is, of course, unbelievably beautiful.

Inbetween sunbathing/napping/reading episodes I went swimming several times, using my mask and snorkel (thanks, Alex!) to look at the fish and underwater caves.

I didn't want to leave.

The wildflowers are in bloom along all the roads in rural North Florida. I'm pretty sure the yellow ones are Coreopsis lanceolata, the Florida state wildflower.

Update: The DEP used to have a map on their Web site of all the springs in the state, but since I can't find it, I'm linking to the The Orlando Sentinel's map of many springs.

If you're looking to go to a spring, you should know that some springs are privately owned and are not accessible to the public, while others are privately owned but charge a fee for the public to use them. Still others are owned by counties or municipalities, and some are state parks.

Other spring facts: There are several springs that are right on or just off rivers and can be accessed by canoe or other watercraft only. Some spring-fed rivers include the Rainbow, Juniper, and the Ichetucknee. The largest concentrations of accessible springs (at least from my experience) seem to be in Gilchrist and Suwannee Counties (North Florida) and in Marion County (in the Ocala National Forest).

Aha! A helpful person answering comments at just emailed me this site, which is more comprehensive than anything I've ever seen about Florida springs.


Wicked Gardener said...

That spring looks beautiful. I'll have to check it out.

EG said...

I'm coming down to Florida for a week this summer. I hope I get a chance to float the Itchetucknee, it's been too long!

sarah said...

You guys should definitely go! It's beautiful. The river is the best, though. You just float down it blissfully for 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. You'll see tons of birds, turtles, and fish, and sometimes even otters.

Lets Plant said...

Wow, that water looks amazing!! I have never been to a spring before. After seeing these pictures I absolutely must go!! Thank you for posting on this!!