Near the end of March I left E.G. Simmons and moved to Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. The kayaking there is the main event. They also have pull through sites which I really appreciate in my novice backing up state and some sites, but not mine, have sewer which doesn’t matter as much to me.
There are two ways to get your kayak into the Silver River. You can drive out of the park and around to the entrance to what was once the private tourist facility before the state bought it. They still have the glass bottom boat rides and they rent kayaks or you can launch your own near the head spring, float down the river and paddle back up. OR you can put wheels on your kayak and pull it at least 8/10th of a mile on a sandy trail to the campground’s boat launch. This is what I do. I take the boat down there as soon as I can and lock it up there so that I have no excuse not to get up early in the morning and go for a paddle up to the spring head. Sorry for this picture but when I have to set it up on timer, sometimes only part of what I’m trying to get shows up. I don’t have the patience for many redos and this was the best one having both part of me and part of my “Tootsie” my faithful kayak.
I did go out every morning. The walk down and back and the paddling did me good. I came back to taxes, business and basketball (thank goodness for it). I can’t stream much until I’m over the limit and they throttle me down. The joys of Verizon jetpack.
Looking back over the notes in my journal at the time, I’m wondering how I ever got or if I ever got the titles of both Winnona and Ruby switched into my name alone. I seem to have been calling one agency or another daily.
The first day I was on the water for 4 hours. I guess I had nothing to come back for. The next day 2.5 hours. I took LOTSSSSSSSS of pictures. Here are some of what I saw and what you can see if you kayak the Silver river. Hope they will lighten up parts of the story I have to tell.
Beautiful waters with BIG manatee.
I seem to be losing things. One day I walked down to the kayak and found I hadn’t brought my paddles so I had to go back another 8/10th of a mile for them. Where is my mind?
Another day I discovered that somehow I had lost my dermatologist prescribed sunscreen. I was out in the kayak, needed to put it on and it wasn’t in the drybag. I thought I’d just forgotten to pack it-where is my mind?-but after looking everywhere back at the rig it was not to be found. Subsequently when I started to take a shower, no shampoo. At that point I think I actually must be losing my mind. The fog is definitely thick and my mind is vague at best.
A pair of Wood Ducks side by side. They are so beautiful and my favorites as you will see from the numerous pictures of them and their families.
I always think of halloween candy corn when I see the common moorhen’s beek.
Black crowned night herons can look very different depending on how they are standing.
That is a very long nose.
Until the start of the three dark dreary days here with highs of 58 at best. They don’t do much to keep me from gloom. So much of my time I just feel lost anyway and these days of rain don’t help. I find myself wanting nothing to eat but junk food. My carb therapy is mainly Smartfood cheesy popcorn, symphony bars, potato chips and or Peanut Butter M&Ms. I’m definitely feeling sorry for myself. If it’s raining I’m inside all day long. And alone all day long.
And to top it all off, once the rain ended and I could get back on the water, at the end of one morning paddle I was putting the kayak up and just reach over to get the lock, no strain, just a normal reach and heard something snap. Didn’t sound good but I didn’t notice anything so I walked back. But by the time I got to the rig my lower back was in agony. For 4 days at the end of my stay in Silver Springs, I did no walking, no kayaking, took Aleve every 8 hours, used a heating pad, tried to stay off of my feet and did specific Yoga lower back exercises. No more beautiful river. Of course what would I have done with even more pictures of wonderful creatures and beautiful water?
Unlike the callousness of the personnel at Little Manatee River, the rangers at Silver Springs took a truck and drove down to the kayak launch to bring my boat back for me since I could not possibly pull it even the day before I had to leave. They also put it on my car for me. I was so thankful to them for the help. It’s amazing how much we take for granted being part of a pair in helping each other out in difficult times. My thanks go out to the folks at Silver Springs Campground.
I was lucky enough before I was sent off the river by weather and back problems to see several wood duck families.
And also lucky to see the Rhesus monkeys. Rhesus monkeys along the banks of the river are not native and can be dangerous. They bite and scratch however cute they may be.
And they are cute having a very good time running, swinging and playing in the trees.
Just be aware that no matter how non threatening they may look, they are wild animals and not to be approached or fed.
Luckily my back had healed enough to move on to Rainbow Springs when my reservation at Silver Springs was over. The biggest difficulty there was dealing with the Blue Ox hitch in getting the car attached and unattached. After another couple of days of rest, I was also to able to get my boat in the water and paddle up the Rainbow River.
By this point it has been two over months since David’s death and everything seems to be getting worse not better as many well meaning people assure me it will. But most of them have never spent 24/7 with someone for 9 years. “You’ll be feeling better soon” they say. I’m wondering how anyone ever feels “better”.