Springs, Springs, Springs!

On the next part of the journey
We were looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There were gators and crystal springs
The first thing we met was a manatee
And the sky with no clouds
The day was warm and the river was wet
But the air was full of sound

Adapted from “Horse With No Name” by America

We visited 4 Springs in a row:

  • 7 Sisters Springs (Chassahowitzka River)
  • Gilchrist Springs
  • Ginnie Springs
  • Wakulla Springs

At Chassahowitzka River campground (near 7 Sisters Springs) we rented kayaks, and toured the river, enjoying the wildlife (birds, fish, turtles) and particularly the friendly manatee that was often near the docks at the boat rental. We also saw our first freshwater springs – with crystal clear water flowing up out of underground caverns. The water appears bright blue, particularly where the caves are made of light colored stone. Another fun part of kayaking the Chassahowitzka is traveling upstream a mile or so of progressively narrower and shallower water until you reach “the crack” a deep rock cleft where spring water pours forth.

Gilchrist Springs wasn’t too interesting, being closed to boating. Besides we were just stopping for the night before we could get a spot at Ginnie Springs. The park ranger casually mentioned “weather” was on the way, but we didn’t give it much thought until we saw a weather report warning of wind gusts of up to 50 mph, and a tornado watch (and eventual warning 15 miles away). Lori had an evacuation bag packed with food, flashlight, etc. in case we had to run for cover in the concrete block bath house nearby. It never came to that, but Lori was on the verge of making a run for it for 1/2 an hour or so.

Ginnie Springs was lovely. We kayaked one day – visiting at least 5 different crystal blue springs along the Santa Fe River – and paddle boarded the next (the first time for both of us!). Scuba divers explored the caves at the bottom of the main spring, and we spent a long day in and out of the water, on and off the paddle board. Lori learned from a fellow paddle boarder that our phone model is water resistant. He showed us several underwater clips he’d taken earlier. That was enough for Lori to brave it herself, and you can see the result in our video. Ginnie Springs is also set up as a tubing river, with a path to walk back upstream after a lazy drift downstream. It is huge with hundreds of campsites. What a great place for a family outing.

Wakulla Springs State Park is another gem. It has 2 main virtues. One is an excellent hour+ tour on the Wakulla River, only $8 per person. A great deal! We learned to identify many native birds. We saw at least 20 alligators, from 2 foot long babies, to giant elders. We also saw two manatees. There was a wealth of information provided about the river environment and the characteristics, habits, and behaviors of the river’s denizens. The other neat thing about the park is the high-end cafe onsite. If you eat there, they take the park entry fee off your bill!

Well, enough chatter. Here’s the video. Yes, you’ll see lots of spring water, what can we say, we were enamored with it. There’s always the fast forward button.. :)

As we write this, we’re in Mississippi, just east of Biloxi, headed for Louisiana tomorrow. Stay tuned for the details in our next post. Bye for now!

Mark and Lori

8 thoughts on “Springs, Springs, Springs!

  1. Lori and Mark, I just watched your video…just perfect. Marty’s family lived in Ocean Springs, MS for 20 years, then in 2005 the hurricane took the house. Marty and I have spent quite a bit of time in those parts. M’s mom grew up in New Orleans and spent summers in Pass Christian on Long Beach. This trip looks good on you! XXXXX, M

  2. Loved the video — especially of the manatees! For years I have visited my folks in FL and while there hoped to see a manatee while boating or kayaking — with absolutely no success. :(

    While in MS, stop by my old stomping grounds (when I was in 2nd & 3rd grades :)) in Pass Christian. My dad worked for GE at the time and was on loan to NASA in Gulfport.

  3. Lori, you’re rocking the hat for kayaking 😉
    What a trip! I think I’d freak a bit to have a Manatee under my kayak😳
    You two look so relaxed!
    Of course I did chuckle about you being ready for a door dash in case the weather was bad…like a fire drill at the Barn😆
    Keep the photos/videos coming!

  4. Incredible water photography! The underwater stuff is just amazing, didn’t know that was even possible! Glad you are having such a wonderful time. I may be going to Mississippi myself in April, never been. Safe travels!

    • Thanks! I’m still surprised you can dunk an iPhone 11. There are holes for the speakers and charger ports, but I guess that’s not a problem! We had never been to Mississippi either, and now just the coast. Not sure how representative it is for the whole state, but it was certainly nice there, with cute towns and nice coastal beaches and parks.

  5. Looks like you two are really enjoying retirement!!! Holy gators!! Gracie and I are enjoying the postcards too!! Stay safe, Love Nancy and Gracie

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