We are half way through our stay at Alligator Lake Park here in Lake City, Florida. We had agreed to stay for 12 months here as we wanted to get off the road for a little while and fix up our RV and hopefully build up my writing and craft items. So far, we haven’t been able to save any money towards the new RV motor but we have been building up our craft items we have for sale. Of course, we are still working on getting ready for being a vendor at the Florida Folk Festival at the end of May.
Now that spring has sprung we are getting more and more visitors as well as more animal and bird sightings all around the park area. The work is fairly easy until the weekends when we get the most visitors mostly birthday parties while during the week we get a lot of walkers and bikers. There has been a case or two of vandalism in the bathhouse sometime during overnight hours a time or two. I am thinking of digging out my brothers wildlife camera and set it up in the tree across from the bathrooms. But, as with any government agency there are rules that have to be followed. If it happens again then we will see how that one goes.
There is a pair of nesting eagles here in the park but I haven’t been able to spot them yet. The park maintenance people have an old pair of binoculars that I borrow from time to time and ride the trail hoping to get a glimpse of them before they head up north again. This place is really popular for the local Audubon group. Speaking of which, they just had their annual Spring festivals this past weekend. We didn’t have to do anything because the park drafted one of their employees to take care of their needs while they were there. We just had to pick up some trash around the park and empty out the trash barrels. There were quite a few people who came along with a representative from the Florida State Parks, Florida Wildlife Commission and the Florida Water Management people. There were only a couple a craft vendors and 5 or 6 empty vendor spaces. So, hopefully, next year they will do a better job of advertising and getting more vendors. There was a snack vendor and even a shave ice vendor. The highlight of the event seem to be the bald eagle exhibition and talk given by one of the local wild life rescue people. Below we have included some of the pictures we took during the festival.
Till next time!
Free North Florida Springs – In our forth and final episode in the series we will be listing a couple of the free springs left on our list and relisted a few of the websites you might want to “favor” or “bookmark” for future reference. Again, please remember that all of the springs we have listed are located somewhere along one of rivers, have a tendency to flood several times a year and do not have the same amenities as the ones in our Florida State Parks. Also, please do not harass the local wildlife, bring mosquito repellent, wear water shoes to swim and always bring along someone who is a better swimmer than you are. The buddy system works for a reason. Most of these places are in the middle of a wildlife and/or wilderness area and you do not want to swim alone. Finally, please be kind and take your trash with you or at least use any trash cans that may be provided. Leave only footprints and take only pictures.
Checking River Levels: http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.aspx?nid=253
Continue reading “Free North Florida Springs – Part 4”
Free North Florida Springs – In part three of our series we want to introduce you to a little known spring located with the Troy Springs Conservation area and Ruth Walker Tract. In fact, it is located off the same hard road as Troy Springs State Park. The area is run and maintained by the Suwannee River Water Management District so there are not a lot of amenities. There is, of course, no charge to visit the springs but be aware that this one is located down a not well maintained dirt road after traveling down a crushed rock road. There is no sign leading down to the spring itself you just got to find it. It took us two tries to finally locate the place but it was well worth it. The springs area is fortified with large wooden beams. There use to be a wooden walkway leading down but when we visited there (May 2013) it was almost gone. There is a parking area around the spring but no port-a-potty or picnic tables. It is used and kept clean mostly by local residents. The best direction we have found on another website: http://www.flsprings.com/content/ruth-spring
Continue reading “Free North Florida Springs – Part 3”
Free North Florida Springs – In part two of our series we will list another springs area that you can visit and not have to pay an entrance fee. Remember, our natural springs are located near a river and have a tendency to flood when the river rises. You really do not want to go into a spring that you cannot see to the bottom of and you should always be aware of snakes, alligators and other creatures that live in the area. Please do not harass the wildlife. Again, most of our springs are regulated by either Federal, State, County or Water Management Districts. Most charge a fee to visit. One of our favorites is Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park in Live Oak, Florida. It is more popular with divers than swimmers but the swimming area is pretty nice. It is not as big as some of the more popular springs state parks but nice nonetheless. On a hot summer day when the river is down you can go to this out-of-the-way area and enjoy the large shade trees, dip into very chilly water and have a picnic on the banks.
Continue reading “Free North Florida Springs – Part 2”
Free North Florida Springs – Did you know that there are actually some springs you and your family can visit and not cost you anything to go and enjoy? Yes, our Florida State Parks has some great springs in the north Florida area and, generally, it only costs a couple of bucks per car load to visit such as Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Ft White, Florida; Lafayette Blue Springs State Park in Mayo, Florida; Troy Springs State Park in Branford, Florida and Madison Blue Springs State Park in Lee, Florida. You really need to check their website before you come to make sure the springs is open before you drive over for the day. These are day-use only state parks and are opened from 8:00am to sundown every single day. Now until Memorial Day weekend, when the summer season begins, you will have a better chance to get in at the lowest fees.
Continue reading “Free North Florida Springs – Part 1”