Monday, June 22, 2009
This past weekend Jason and I went to Manatee Springs, in Chiefland. Between spending parts of my work days in the recent heat index of 110 F and hearing my coworker talk about her plans for Silver Glen Springs in the Ocala National Forest, I decided a spring was the perfect way to spend our Saturday.
One side of the spring is filled with cypress trees and the other is a retaining wall with sets of stairs leading into the water. The spring flows into the spring run and eventually into the Suwannee River.
So yes, it was ridiculously hot outside and yes I've been in springs before, but lets face it...there's a reason these scuba divers are wearing wet suits. When I jumped in the water (slowly going down the steps turned out to be too painful) I think my body temporarily shut down from the freezing cold water. We also didn't realize until after that, that the steps we took into the water were the closest to the spring opening and the other steps were further away and a tiny bit warmer.
When visiting any spring, I think it's a necessity to bring a mask and snorkel. Even though the water is clear, it's usually so deep that you can't see the cave openings, plants and animals from up on the surface. The only downside was that not only my mask but my camera kept fogging up because of the extreme cold water! Although my snorkel masks always fog up no matter where I am. I don't have the right saliva mixture or something.
After eating our Publix subs, cooling ourselves off in the water, warming ourselves up in the water by swimming, we finally dried off and put our stuff in the car. Before leaving, we took a walk on the boardwalk that leads from the spring through a riverine cypress ecosystem and out to the Suwannee River where boaters can dock their boats while they visit the springs. This is a picture of the river. Everytime I see it, I'm always surprised by how wide the river is!
This sign was at the beginning of the boardwalk. I'm the last person to be labeled a squirrel feeder, but felt it was necessary to take a picture anyway. I was in Boston last weekend (post to come soon) and was astonished at two young girls in the park feeding squirrels peanuts while their parents looked on lovingly. I made an angry comment about this to Ana and was probably a little too loud b/c the family looked up at me in surprise. Rabies anyone?
Finally, a picture of the button bush in bloom that was among the cypress trees on the boardwalk.
Overall Manatee Springs was a great park. They had nice grassy areas to lay out the towels and picnic. It was a tiny bit too crowded for me, but I think any spring during the summer will be over popular. I have to say even with the large amount of people, it was all families and we weren't worried about leaving our stuff on the grass unattended while we swam.