Our summertime activities have been few and far between, it seems, but we did take some time not too long ago to get out for a paddle. We chose to paddle down Rock Springs Run (not to be confused with Rock Springs Run Preserve State Park, which is nearby), which ends almost at Wekiwa Springs State Park. With a little prior planning, we dropped one car at Wekiwa, met up at Kings Landing, and launched.
We had something of a traffic jam at the very beginning. A large group launched around the same time, and they were waiting for everyone to catch up like we were. Thankfully our group was much smaller...me, Rob, Olivia, Chris, and Xandra.
At some point we made our way past the larger group and got down to the business of paddling. The weather was gorgeous, hot and sunny. I didn't know what to expect from Rock Springs Run, honestly, but I paddled with the knowledge that it is my brother's favorite place on the planet. So much so that he wants his ashes spread there when it's his time to go. And so, I paddled on knowing how special this place must be.
I found the run to be quite relaxing and enjoyable. Lots of curves, but that added to the experience. You never knew what you'd find around the next corner.
I love that last picture for so many reasons. I keep wanting to make a joke about Xandra being kicked back and relaxing, but she does paddle, too. The other thing is the rippling of the water. With the reflections of the trees, I love how the ripples from Chris's paddle add a little wrinkle to the picture.
See that little lump in the middle of the last picture? That's an otter. We came upon him swimming around, and he hung out for a little bit. Aside from my days working at Sea World, this is the closest I've ever been to an otter!
Dive, dive, dive!!
Olivia found ways to keep herself entertained:
....while Robby had his own fun, paddling upstream and through a waterfall of vines:
Pretty soon our shady canopy gave way to open sky:
We also came upon one of the primitive campsites on the river:
There are, I believe, five or six such campsites down Rock Springs Run and up the Wekiwa River. We're thinking about making a weekend trip to one of them sometime soon.
Right around the time we started seeing more canoes and kayaks in the water was about the time we reached the split. Since our goal was Wekiwa Springs, we headed upstream and battled the crazy, inexperienced, loud-mouthed, disrespe....oh, well, we avoided all the people in rental boats and powered through (or, as I told Chris, My Idea of Hell).
Before long we were at Wekiwa. After a brief struggle to get the boats uphill and secured to our car, we planted ourselves in the shade and had an awesome picnic. It was a relaxing day on a beautiful waterway, and I can see why it speaks to my brother in such a special way.