Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Great Day at Blue Springs State Park

Bob and I spent an absolutely terrific day at Blue Springs State Park last Saturday.  We figured we better get over there before the bulk of the manatees made there way further up the Saint Johns River.  I guess lots of people were thinking the same thing, because when we got there, there were plenty of people waiting to get in.  The line was about 12 cars long, and we had to wait for about 20 minutes, but it was well worth it.

When we got out of the car, we heard some pretty nice jazz coming out of the pavilion.  Three young guys were giving a performance, so we sat down and listened for awhile.  We love good jazz, so it was quite a treat, and a nice way to start our day.  Blue Skies, 80 degree temperatures, good music - who could ask for more?

Luckily, there were plenty of manatees to see.  Many of them looked like mothers with babies.

We saw an alligator that was a pretty good size.  It might have been the same one we saw last year, just about in the same spot.

As we were leaving, we also saw an armadillo.

We checked out the campground again, and it sure is nice.  I'd like to stay there sometime when we get a chance.   Blue Springs is a great place to visit.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Very Cold January and February So Far at Salt Springs

Our campsite at Salt Springs Recreational Area
We arrived for our 21/2 month stay at Salt Springs Recreation Area on January 3rd this year.  When we first arrived we were lucky and got a couple of really nice 75-80 degree days, but since then the weather pattern has been exceptionally cold and rainy for this area. Whereas last year we were able to wear shorts and tee shirts for most of January and February, this year has been mostly jeans, long sleeved shirts, and sweaters or sweat shirts.  Still, it's so much better than the weather that's been going on in New Jersey.  Today there's a winter storm warning in my home town of Pennsauken, and they're expecting another 8 to possibly as much as 14 inches of snow along with some ice.  This is on top of the 40+ inches they've already gotten this year.  Needless to say, whenever I get grumpy about the weather I just look at what's going on at home, and feel extremely thankful that we're here.  Out of the six weeks that we've been here, we've had about 7 really great days in the 70's-80's, so we were able to get out twice on our new Sea Eagle Kayak.

We bought the Sea Eagle while we were down here and had it shipped to our campsite.  It's a great alternative to the fishing canoe that we previously hauled with us.  In December, Bob got a pacemaker/defibrillator because his heart wasn't pumping as hard as it should be (low ejection fraction).  Since he acquired the device, he's unable to lift anything heavy, especially over his head, so it looks as if the canoe is no longer an option for us since it weights about 120 pounds.  The kayak is perfect at only about 34 pounds and it packs up neatly when we're ready to travel.  We love it so far and look forward to taking it out at least a couple of times a week.  We need some practice on synchronizing our paddle strokes, but we're getting there.

On our last trip out the manatees were surrounding us, and were so close that I was slightly worried that they'd come up underneath us, but fortunately no such catastrophe occurred.  Bob and I floundering around it the water and trying to get back into the kayak is an ugly thought.

We'll be enjoying the beauty of Salt Springs for another month before moving on to Hillsborough River State Park on March 14th.  We plan on spending most of our time reading, taking walks, kayaking, and building up Bob's strength with some bike riding.  I'm hoping the weather cooperates, but if it doesn't, I'll just look at the weather back home and smile!