Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Springs Trip

Because he's been helping another friend open a restaurant, I haven't seen my friend Rob in a while. So when he asked if I wanted to take Tuesday off to go canoeing, I of course said yes.

Rob's on restaurant time, so we didn't leave Gainesville till around noon. Ominous skies.

Well, whatever -- I got out of the office and got to go to a new spring, Manatee Springs in Levy County.

It's a state park, so there was lots of interpretative signage around. This one was called "Waterfront Dining for Thousands of Years." It basically said the American Indians/Native Americans who used to live by this spring probably had a pretty sweet life -- plenty of food, a mellow climate, and a beautiful spring to swim and bathe in. I've often thought the same thing.

Manatee Springs is a 1st magnitude spring, which means it flows at a rate of more than 100 cubic feet per second. I can tell you that that's a pretty strong current when you're trying to swim against it. Evidently it is the largest spring flowing directly into the Suwannee River.

The spring is named for the large, slow-moving aquatic mammals that enter it in the winter, when the 72-degree water is warmer than wherever they're coming from. Rob needed to let off a little restaurant stress.

The vegetation around all the springs I've been to is fairly consistent. You have your old-growth oaks.

Cypress trees. (In the middle of a lush lawn, in this case.)

Saw palmetto.

Gotta love the friendly local fauna.

I feel like I'm forgetting something.

OH! The spring! Yeah, that was ok, I guess. If you go in for that sort of thing. Crystal-clear, deep water, few other people ... yawn.

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