Actually, bixa, the last photo was taken in the area I think to be of the lowest elevation, unless there's a recessed area in the section with thick foliage that I haven't tried to reach. I'm sure if I dug down a bit I'd find some moisture and muck, but it's all looking pretty dry to me. Remember, there isn't a spring here. Just a depression in the earth that appears to have sealed itself off. I'd say the difference in elevation between the first photo and the last is about 10 meters.
Early this morning I loaded my kayak up and headed for the Ichetucknee River, about an hour drive from my home. The weather was absolutely perfect for a day on the water; not a cloud all day with the high reaching into the upper 70's F.
I parked my car at the exit to the state park section of the river since I planned to first paddle upriver to the head spring before floating back down. Getting into the water and starting the paddle upstream is a little tricky so I had stowed my camera before shoving off, but once I cleared a bend where the current wasn't as strong I retrieved my camera and began the challenge of taking photos while moving.
It wasn't long before I sensed, rather than heard, something to my left. The light was so bright and, lacking a viewfinder on my camera, I had a hard time seeing what I thought was there.
I just starting shooting photos until I found, down at the edge of this river, this little deer.
I could see at least nine deer scattered throughout the woods, even though they appeared to be the same color as the landscape. I blindly snapped photos of spaces and shapes and was able to capture a few pictures.
The deer eventually disappeared, but since they ran in the direction I was traveling I would get occasional glimpses of them from time to time for the next half hour.
What a peaceful morning. It felt like I had the whole river to myself and, indeed, I didn't encounter another human for two hours.
Oh my goodness! What an absolute privilege you have to be able to cruise along a waterway and capture such wonder. The little deer looking up at you as you passed by....the snow white heron reflected in the still water...the turtle coming up to catch a few rays..! And that Woody Woodpecker!! He is brilliant! Just magical Htmb, thanks so much.
I paddled on through the marsh and, as the river continued to narrow, I reached the main spring at the top of the run where I met up with my friends.
After a quick break to stretch my legs, I was back on the water and headed downstream. You might think that by going downstream the view would be the same, but I find it very different. Plus, it's nice to relax and just steer the kayak after two hours of fairly intense paddling.
The marsh area is a very interesting section of the river. Many different types of birds are attracted by the wild rice plants.
This photo doesn't begin to convey how stunning the moss covered cypress trees are in the late fall.
Many more turtles had crawled out into the sunlight.
All in all, it was a delightfully satisfying day. I feel incredibly fortunate to live near such a beautiful river, and very thankful to those who have worked hard to protect the Ichetucknee and its surroundings.
Just one FABULOUS sequence after another. You manage to convey both the tranquility and contemplative beauty of the place at the same time you excite us with all there is to spy and to discover.
I never would have seen the deer in the pictures if you hadn't said they were there! Boy oh boy ~~ your bird pictures rival any I've ever seen.
This is such a wonderful thread, Htmb, unfolding so beautifully and never repeating itself. I loved knowing what you meant by "uncovered karst limestone" because of having learned about it earlier in the thread.
Oh, thank you all so much! It makes me very happy to know that you have enjoyed this thread. Yes, Kerouac, I agree I need to get in the kayak more often. It has been more convenient in the past, but now it takes a bit more effort.
I honestly lucked out with the weather, too. What a gorgeous day. And bixa, I'm so glad you understood the reference to karst! Interestingly enough, there were two articles about protecting the water quality of our springs in today's local newspaper. It's obviously a very important issue here.
By Robert L. Knight Special to The Sun Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 6:01 a.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 10:52 p.m.
‘The longest river in Florida is the River of Denial that runs through Tallahassee” (a quote from John Moran, concerning the state's claim that they are “Getting the water right,” at the Speak-up for Silver Springs Rally on June 23).
Doing just about anything I could to delay a dreaded Christmas shopping trip, I decided to further explore the Gainesville Greenway. Since many of the leaves are off the trees I was able to see more of the creek system through the wooded areas.
The Hogtown Greenway trail follows parts of the Hogtown and Loblolly Creeks through publicly owned areas in the middle of the city. Much of the path is dirt, while boardwalks have been built over some of the more environmentally sensitive sections.
While the pathways feel isolated, the road is not far. You can see a neighborhood cul de sac at the top-middle of the next photo.
The area is fairly clean, but the shiny object in the bottom-right corner of the next photo is a discarded soda can.
There were a few other bikers out today, as well as runners and walkers. During my hour and a half bike ride, I passed less than 15 people.
As I traveled further south I came to a major city road where the creeks are diverted through culverts underneath.
Lining the road is a public art display featuring scale models of the planets.
Since the wider sections of the river have recently been cleaned and dredged, one can better see the sandy soil. When my children were little they scoured these creeks looking for shark teeth which they often found.
You are making me jealous, showing us this beautiful paradise on your doorstep. ;D Just kidding, I'd previously equated Florida with Disney, so this glorious photo essay is a revelation. Thank you again.
Man is not lost, only temporarily uncertain of his position