Ticks, alligators, and bears, oh my!Aug 24th • 2014
Florida springs are magical.
The water is clear, cool, and clean. They are a welcome respite from the generally humid and mosquito-infused environment that our southern summer creates. But they and the Florida aquifer are also in danger from development, increased water usage, and more…so…insert quick PSA here:
Thanks to my new friend Blake Harvey, I’ve learned about the Water & Land Conservation Amendment and Vote Yes on 1. This will give “Florida voters a direct opportunity to protect our rivers, springs, and beaches, keep drinking water clean, and restore natural treasures like the Everglades—without any increase in taxes.” November 4th is the big day. Please vote!
See below for a good reason to support the Water & Land Conservation Amendment. Mainly, Silver Glen Springs.
This weekend saw Brittany and I again heading off to central Florida, but this time with Lindsey in tow. Our destination lay within the Ocala National Forest. Silver Glen Springs is just less than a two-hour drive from Atlantic Beach. Again… it’s a spring in Florida. Of course, it’s going to be beautiful. But bears? That’s news to me.
This spring is pretty wide and open. I’d recommend arriving early as the park began to get crowded around 11 in the morning. It doesn’t help that this spring flows into Lake George. A large number of boats come up the run and drop anchor. So there’s traffic coming in via the road and parking area, but also by way of the lake.
Sadly the Natural Well on the southwestern side of the spring is closed to the public for safety reasons. I heard a rumor of a cave collapse. So no fun photos of that place sadly.
We ended our time at Silver Glen with a quick hike…which sadly followed us the rest of the day. Even though the path was well marked and worn, we all left with a new family of ticks. It was a rather nightmarish experience. Mother Nature, 1. Us, 0. It was beautiful, but next time I’m near the Big Scrub area of Ocala, I’ll be washing first in permethrin. Or maybe always.
Lunch and tick-checks happened at Square Meal in Salt Springs. I’ve oddly enough been here several times before. It was a favorite stopping point on return trips from YoungLife Leadership Weekends at Southwind. It’s country…like everyone-knows-each-other-and-will-stare-at-you-because-you’re-from-out-of-town-country. But decent food for cheap.
Our final stop was at the Ravine Gardens. This is a state park within Palatka. (Never thought I’d willingly go to Palatka.) The gardens are in an actual ravine. It was formed over the centuries by the St. Johns River. The gardens, however, are a man-made addition (duh) built in 1933 by the federal Works Progress Administration.
It’s pretty lovely. There’s a creek, small ponds, flowers, bridges…and lots of steps.
See…steps. And an alligator…on the left.
Overall, today was good. A definite learning experience, but good. I’m still pretty stoked about some of the beautiful offerings of Florida…even if it comes peppered with ticks, alligators, and bears. Let’s be real though. It helps that I can come home to an air-conditioned house.