Cali had us up for multiple trips outside throughout the night. The poor dear has been dealing with a severe stomach issue for the past few days. We relaxed under our beautiful canopy of trees for most of the morning enjoying the serenity of Blue Spring State Park. At around 11:00, I rallied myself and made a run for the river. French Landing boat access is just a hop, skip and a jump from the park gate down to the banks of the St. Johns’s River. Being a Saturday, the spring itself had already filled all of its parking spaces and the rangers were turning people away at the entrance.
I drove to the river and parked right on the shore and stepped on the SUP and was off down the river. I started off doing a little loop in the oxbow across from the launch area where I saw tons of birds and one of the biggest gators I’ve seen in Florida maybe an eight footer. Some kids in a canoe coming the other way scared it and it submerged disappearing from view. I hustled on past and returned to the main river.
The cool part about this area of the river is that due to the migration of manatees through here the entire area is a no wake zone so the power boats are all toddling along causing no danger to all the kayakers and us occasional stand up guys. I paddled another half mile or so up the river until I came to the entrance to Snake Creek so I turned up that jungly little tributary and saw another medium sized gator. The lilies, ferns and hanging vines that line the shore make this an awesome spot to explore. I paddled around for two hours then headed back to camp to check up on the girls. When I got back to the entrance, there was a big line of cars coming the other way turning in left and queuing up to get into the spring. I pulled in and some people in line tried to squeeze me out but I slid in and got back to camp. Note to self – the spring is a zoo on weekends. We avoided the spring area all day today.
It was warm and comfortable in the shade on our patio. We hung around outside chatting and working on little projects then listened to some Joe Dispenza and did a meditation exercise. As evening approached we got fired up to go do some more paddling so we drove back out the dirt track to the boat launch and tossed the board in the water. There was quite a crowd hanging around the small beach area, some lounging in anchored boats and others fishing or swimming from the bank.
We did a little tandem spin around the river out front with PJ sitting on the board and me paddling us across the waterway. It was fun for a while then we dropped me off and PJ took off and did a little touring through some side channels and around the oxbow on the west shore. I sat around on a log and mingled with an odd assortment of locals while she was exploring the swampland.
When she came back, I had a turn on the board and paddled for a while. Spotted another small gator and the biggest gray heron on the planet. The temperature was perfect and the afternoon sun was resting low on the sky. We loaded up the board and drove over to the southern beach area where they rent kayaks to see what they had to offer. Everything was closed up but lots of folks where still hanging about barbecuing and fishing from the tour boat landing docks. We walked around for a few minutes then hurried back to Cali and a late salad to refuel our engines. A wonderful Florida spring day on the St. John’s River.