What a difference 24 hours makes! We left Ocean Pond campground on Monday morning arriving at Salt Springs CG in the Ocala National Forest by noon. Check-in was a breeze as there were no one in front of us waiting for a site. We had our choice of 3 long term campsites and I blindly picked site 46. Luckily it has a nice big area just in front of the trailer that’s full of live oaks, palm trees and mischievous squirrels.
Our bodies went through a shock with the temperature shift as it had been in the 50’s for most of our trip. Now we were looking at 80’s for highs for the next 10 days. I swore to myself that I would not complain about being hot! Not after freezing for so much of the time at Fort Pickens.
February of 2010 was the last time we were here and I was anxious to see if anything had changed. As soon as we got set up we walked to the canal, boat launch and spring. David grabbed his camera and we were fortunate to see, not one, but four different alligators soaking up the sun.
The next day we finally got to use the kayaks that we had been toting around for two weeks. The launch is just down from the spring and frequently, during winter months, manatees are in the spring run. We weren’t disappointed as several of these gentle giants were playing in the water. At one point as I was paddling around looking for the giants, two huge nostrils appeared right in front of my boat. Quickly back paddling, I eased out of it’s way as I did not want it to come up under me!
Last night we went to the recreation barn and played board games with friendly folks. The barn was full of snowbirds woodworking, quilting and playing cards. I’m not much for games but the nights are very long and it was a pleasant way to spend part of the evening.
On Thursday the bikes got unloaded and we toured the campground, road through town and went down a sandy forest service road. Purchased a bag of honey belles (oranges) from a roadside stand and started devouring them as soon as we got back to camp. After lunch, knowing that the 80 plus weather was not going to last, I unpacked the bathing suit and headed to the spring. Only a handful of swimmers were there so the solitude of the spring was not interrupted.
The water was wonderful, a cool 72 degrees, and I tried to work off the fried catfish, the previous night’s dinner, by swimming, or rather dog paddling, around the spring.
Today was supposed to be another paddling day, instead we drove around the forest getting acquainted with other campgrounds. Visited Eaton Lake’s campground…with the Senior Pass we could stay there for $4 a night! It had 13 sites and only one camper who warned us that the ticks and chiggers were real bad. (No hookups, pit toilet) We drove on to Juniper Springs where there is also no hookups but a nice bathhouse and pretty campsites. Probably will be our destination when we leave Salt Spring.
Extremely tired tonight so just quitting the thinking part and posting more pictures.
Home at Salt Springs
Entrance to the spring
Salt Spring with the run, where the manatees play, in the background