Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Like many early attractions, it is now a state park. Over the years Silver Springs was used as the backdrop for early Tarzan movies, and also appeared in Creature from the Black Lagoon, among other films. The park has many other components; a camping area, an outdoor stage, a reconstructed village (open on weekends only) the boat tours and smaller museums. Also off to the side is a canoe/kayak rental and launch. The launch (and the boat tours) are an additional fee to the park entrance.
The launch is in a corner of the parking lot, away from the main entrance. It leads on to a small channel, like that shown above. (This picture was taking coming back along a connecting channel.) Spanish moss dripping from live oak, adds a certain serenity to the trip.
We paddled by a variety of springs, some are known for their depth, or for their use in movies or TV scenes; one has a boat sunk into it, others are known for attracting turtles.
We did see lots of turtles and fish though.
And several birds, including these ibis.
The loop we did was just under two miles, pretty short, but considering we got to travel over several springs (in many parks the more active springs are roped off for swimming), see all sorts of scenery and wildlife, plus enjoy a shady paddle, it felt like a great deal. Those seeking longer paddles can head down Silver Springs River. Though you may not be able to get all the way to Palotka anymore, you can certainly paddle a number of miles.
Wikipedia Silver Springs Park
Map of Florida Springs
Florida State Parks information about Silver Springs
Summary: Entrance to the park $8, launch fee $4 per boat, kayak and canoe rental's available. Portapotty by boat ramp, flush toilets in the park. Glass bottom boat tours are an additional fee. Displays, and food available in the park. The park sometimes shuts early for concert events. Two mile loop with gentle current, longer trips available down the river.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Why no kayaks? Because we weren't planning any big trips and having kayaks with us meant always keeping them on the roof. Besides our kayaks are meant for big water and we were headed for shallow bays and narrow springs.
We drove as fast as was comfortable to Florida, spent some time there and drove back a little slower and more randomly. Which was grea,t because that gave us a chance to meet Durhamblogger; Mike and his lovely wife, Rachel!
how-to posts and gear reviews. It's obvious that he is an avid kayaker, but you might not guess that it was his wife, Rachel, who talked him into getting that first kayak. It was a terrific visit!
Now we're back home and in the midst of catching up on all sorts of miscellaneous work/house chores. We've got all our pictures stored on the computer, so I just need to sort out what to report from the thirteen paddle adventures and 200 plus photos.
Tonight I'll just post one more picture: a portrait of Carl the venomous Coral Snake:
"Red touch yellow; kill a fellow"
(There may be more to it than that, but it didn't seem as important.)
Finally it's proved useful! Without that rhyme I surely would have picked up and cuddled Carl, but because I had it memorized, I just kept my distance and let him go his own way!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
But there are lots of mallards. These ducks are hoping for some food.
Friday, October 10, 2014
This may not surprise you, but it's a lot easier to get pictures when you're not in a kayak. This is especially true if not being in a kayak means you can use a camera you wouldn't dare take on the water because it's not particularly waterproof.
|Cormorant- just noticed the ripples line up with some ruffled neck feathers|
Essex Woods is near the Bangor Dog Park, so in addition to runners, walkers and birders, expect to see lots of dog walkers. You might even meet John and Kelley, of Hiking in Maine with Kelley, who provides this nice map with his posting.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday we were up early and off to Bar Harbor to launch from the bar. At 8:30 there were some walkers, and a few cars out testing the make-shift road exposed by the tide.
Just one cruise ship in the harbor, but my eyes kept being drawn to it. Cruise ships dominate the waters off Bar Harbor in the fall. A few lobster boats were out working, as were various tour boats.
All alone at the Hop, except for this armada of loons.
Not many urchin casts on the beach, usually in fall there are several. This is a picture of the only one I saw. Instead, there was a fair amount of trash, enough to fill a grocery bag, with an extra bottle or two to spare.
Not many other kayaks out; two tour groups by the first two porcupine islands (Bar and Sheep) and this paddleboarder way out by Long Porcupine.
I felt very lucky to have been able to take advantage of the warmth; that so few others were at the Porcupines with us I can ascribe only to the multitudinous choices of outdoor activities in Maine.
Summary Information: Launch Bar at the end of Bridge Street in Bar Harbor. No parking at launch: parking is available on West Street and side streets. No facilities: the information booth on Thompson Island is one options as are public toilets at the town dock.
High about 2:30 PM Launch 8:45AM Finish 12:30PM. 8.8 miles one stop.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The launch at Bunker's Cove is across from Stave Island. And pretty much immediately we discovered where the cormorants had been hiding all summer.
Our journey took us by Yellow, Jordan and Ironbound Island. These are all privately owned islands without public access. The buildings on the islands indicate they are owned by people who love them and have the funds to enjoy them.
Check out this little studio:
It wasn't the buildings, or the ships which brought us to this site, it was exploring the keyhole sea caves of Ironbound. These are found on the south east side of Ironbound, carved into the high cliffs. They are best explored on still days. The marine forecast called for waves a foot or less, but unfortunately that's not what we found. So we only popped into a few, which were at angles that minimized waves.
On the southwest of Ironbound, we were surprised by a passel of seals bobbing in the water. It was great fun to watch them watching us, but unfortunately the pictures are terrible, so I'll spare you those.
We didn't see other kayaks on the water, but the Margaret Todd was out.
Three or four lobster boats were also on the water. Remember "no lobstering Sunday" is a tradition, not a law.
Summary: Launch: South Gouldsboro, maybe 10 spaces, no facilities. Launch 9AM, High 9:35AM, finish 12:30PM, 9.8 miles.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
|A map at the launch area|
Instead of attempting the crossing, we paddled into Barrows Cove and explored there.
Then a few weeks ago, while paddling on Mathew's Cove in Moosehead Lake, I saw Mt. Kineo in the distance and thought, "This would have been the perfect day to do that paddle." It was a still day, and, unlike years ago, even if the wind picked up we had seaworthy kayaks and spray skirts. But the day was more than half over, and there was work to get to at home.
This Friday was another calm day, so we packed up our Current Designs Sirocco and Wilderness Systems Zephyr, spray skirts, life jackets, paddles and assorted gear and headed once again to Rockwood.
But we didn't have to wait, we could take right off for Kineo.
|One the way there!|
Mount Kineo has hosted a huge resort hotel between 1848 through 1938. Presently, it's home to some lovely, grand cottages, a golf course (with a restaurant open to all), and a fairly large structure which was merely the employee housing for the old hotel.
|The employee housing is the palest building|
|Mark paddles by a shallow area in Frog Pond.|
|Boats beside the causeway|
It's hard to capture how grand it was:
The cliff alone against the sky:
A concave section with Mark for scale.
Mt. Kineo is composed of rhyolite, a form of flint. Flint from the mountain is found throughout New England and beyond, showing its value as a trade item to Native Americans. A few pictures of the rock face close up:
|A cedar clings to the cliff|
|Rocks at the base|
|At the campsite|
Now you might think finally getting to Kineo, sans two children would be a "Cats in the Cradle" event.
But it wasn't, because that misadventure was not the end of paddling with our kids. First one child then the other grew into individual kayaks. Our trips shifted from short paddles on lakes and streams to short paddles on the sea, to visiting Ironbound and Isle au Haut. Along the way we explored lighthouses and forts, sea caves and islands. We've paddled with whales, dolphins, seals, alligators, manatees, and much more. There were also non-kayak adventures: biking, hiking, museums, attractions, family, friends, school, scouts etc. The years have gone by in a flash, but they were traded for some wonderful memories and two incredible adults with their own lives and interests.
Instead of being melancholy, we were thankful we'd had the opportunity to see another Maine marvel and looking ahead to our next adventure.
More information: Hiking Mount Kineo
Backcountry Camping: Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry
Mount Kineo Golf Course, Shuttle and Restaurant
Summary: Launch: Paved, about thirty spaces, half trailer length. Pit Toilets. Distance, 7.8 miles, about 3 hours with 3 stops. Moosehead Lake is a part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
|Greenville (another community on Moosehead Lake) Police on ATV patrol|