Now that the weather is officially too cold to go swimming in the springs, I am finally getting around to posting about our visit to Blue Springs in High Springs, FL. We wanted to go to Poe Springs, next door but I was put off by the $5/person entry fee. Little did I know that Blue Springs is $10/person!!! By the time we got there, I decided to just suck it up and pay.
We went while it was still hot out but once summer was officially over to beat the crowds. There were a few families barbequing and a steady stream of kids jumping off the platform.
The park contains one large spring that is the main attraction and two smaller springs on either side. The two smaller springs were off to the sides and there was nobody swimming in them. Each one had a floating dock you could walk onto but were surrounded by forests. The seclusion imparted a magical quality to them so that you could imagine what all of Florida's springs looked like at one time (before the diving docks and fake sand beaches and sunny grassy lawns leading down to the retention walls).
One was full of mosquitoes but the other one was perfect. It was the kind of place that Ponce de Leon would have been satisfied with finding. However my dad has instilled a more than healthy fear of alligators in me and the lack of people made me wimp out in going swimming in it by myself.....So after I annoyed Jason with my indecisiveness on swimming, we headed back to the main spring.
This one has a large opening and the water flows out to the Santa Fe River in an extremely long and windy spring run. We walked along it on the boardwalk but didn't make it out to the river b/c the boardwalk was so crooked and dilapidated, we worried it would fall apart!
So then we got in the water and walked along a trail that wound through the aquatic grasses down the spring run. I'm not sure what came first, people walking and the disturbance keeping out the grasses or if the park cut the grass out so that people could walk on it.
After trying to snorkel a bit (and having my mask fog up Again!), we got out of the water to eat lunch. The park has a nice (fake) grassy area leading down to nice (fake) sandy beach. We had dumped all our gear on a picnic bench in the sun and it felt nice to warm off from the cold water while we ate our sandwhiches. Mmm Publix subs!
Some of the sandwich crumbs fell on the table and it didn't take long for a line of ants to find it. We watched as they swarmed all over the area and we had fun playing with them. The ants spent a couple of minutes intent on transporting every piece of crumb away but as soon as we killed one of the ants, they all stopped what they were doing and departed the area!
After that, we made it down to the beach but as soon as we stuck our feet in, we couldn't bring ourselves to brace the cold water again. So we packed up and left.