Venture Out - Cudjoe Key

Venture Out - Cudjoe Key

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wacissa River Kayak Trip

We loaded up the kayaks for a trip to the beautiful springfed Wacissa River, in the town of Wacissa Florida.From highway 27 you head south on 59. There are 2 kayak and canoe rentals right by the park. I believe they both provide a livery service and rent canoes. We put in at the the small park. There is a small swimming area, a boat ramp, an outhouse and a broken picnic table. Yes, the park area is a bit rundown but the river is pretty and a nice spot to kayak. There is a lot of non native vegetation growing in the river that looks like short needled Christmas Trees. It is kind of pretty even though a bit too thick. The day was beautiful for early November, the temperature in the mid 70's and sunny. The bald cypress were turning orange and looked pretty against the blue skies and dark water. A short distance down river on the left side is a canal leading into an area where there is a deep blue spring. There are 2 floating docs near the opening. It's best to go mid day so the sun shines down and you can see into the spring. It is pretty deep, my guess at least 60 feet. You can clearly see the bottom and the water is clear and blue. It is a little creepy looking down over a ledge into the deep water. We have seen a lot of Florida springs but this is one of the most impressive right behind the one at Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida. We didn't see any alligators or turtles today but we did see a lot of birds. We saw White Egrets, a Blue Heron, a Cormorant, a Limpkin, Pileated Woodpeckers, and many more. It was a beautiful warm fall Florida day.

Birdsong Nature Center

November 8, 2008 We spent the day at Birdsong Nature Center, which is located between Tallahassee, Florida and Thomasville, Georgia. It is a 565 acre nature preserve, with 12 miles of hiking trails. They have a "Bluebird Trail" with many nesting boxes which are regularly monitored during nesting season.. There is a "bird window" in one room of the old house. It is dedicated to birdwatching. The window is huge and overlooks the feeding area. There is birdbath with a fine mist of water that really attracts the birds. It has become quite famous in this area. There are chairs and couches provided along with binoculars and a journal listing what birds are seen each day. It is a wonderful room to spend some time getting a close up view of the birds. Today Birdsong had a program on beekeeping, given by a local Beekeeping Club. Al has often thought about beekeeping but didn't really know where to start. The club brought exhibits of their equipment and also a hive of bees. They had literature and spoke of their experiences. It seems like a wonderful hobby but they did warn it could be addictive. We will do some more research but it may be something we would enjoy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

November 3rd-the day before the elections

I spent the morning working on the 2 blogs and trying to educate myself on how to do this. I plan to do better and write more often. Al found a camping-RV products website. I briefly looked at it. It may be a good place to order RV equipment/accessories. The web site is: www.Rec-Direct.com. Let me know what you think of it. The weather is wonderful today. We still have the kayaks loaded, so maybe we should use them? We spend most of yesterday cleaning and reorganizing the motor home and of course Al watched his football. He TIVO'd the Tampa Bay Bucs and watched it last night. He was happy that they won. (We both were). We have started a new Sunday night tradition for the football season. We are making homemade pizza. Al likes this tradition and we will probably have to continue after football season. We make home made crust which is so much better than the rolled crust you can buy at the store. The recipe is for the pizza dough: 1 1/2 cups hot water 1 package yeast 2 Tbls oil mix together, then add 4 Cups unsifted flower You may have to add more water or more water...it depends on the stars/moon/weather?? Mix and knead it thoroughly, cover and let it rise about 1 hour We use cast iron pizza pans. Top as you like and bake @ 450 for about 20 minutes

Saturday, November 01, 2008

St Marks National Wildlife Management Refuge,St Marks, Florida

November 1, 2008 We made the 62 mile trip from home in Cairo, Georgia to St. Marks. It is right on the coast and is a large area with hiking, boating, kayaking,canoeing, picnicing, hunting, and birdwatching. There is a boat dock for larger boats as well as other areas for kayaks and canoes.The weather was a little cool when we started, about 40, but supposed to warm up. We loaded the kayaks in the back of the truck but decided they just might be going along only for the ride if it was too windy and cool. We made a side trip to Sam's Club for a few things as we don't get that way often. We picked up one of their delicious rotisserie chickens and decided to get some potato salad and beans for lunch. We arrived at St Marks and made lunch our first priority. We found a nice picnic area overlooking the water and had lunch. Last week was the annual Monarch Butterfly Festival. A lot of butterflies come to St Marks before migrating south for the winter. There is a lot of Goldenrod there and they seem to like to feed on it. We were past the peak time, but did see a fair amount of Butterflies. We walked along a beautiful trail and saw a lot of beautiful flowers, Fiddler Crabs, Butterflies and a even a Dolphin feeding in the bay. It was a beautiful clear blue sky day and the temperature warmed up to the mid or upper 70's. This next picture is cactus with pretty pink buds. There was quite a lot of this. The lighthouse always looks pretty against the blue sky but today there were red berries from the Youpan Holly bush. At times the lighthouse is open to the public, but it was closed today. It is still pretty to look at. We had planned to put the kayaks into the pool areas they have along the side of the main road. There are marsh grasses in there and usually a lot of birds. There were signs up today stating you were not allowed to put boats in after October 13th. We asked the ranger and were told it is due to the ducks that come this time of year during migration. We later found out they allow limited hunting on the grounds so we wondered how a kayak would be worse then a gun! : ) The visitor center is quite interesting with displays and the usual tourist items to purchase. There is a nice trail behind the visitor center but today we didn't go on the trail because there was a mother alligator with 7-8 babies with her. We lived in Florida for 30 years and have seen a lot of gators on our kayaking trips but this is the first time we ever saw a mama and her babies. It was quite a site. One was resting on her back and the others were hanging around near her. There was quite a difference in their sizes. The photos didn't really show them with their mother except the one on her back.

Florida Caverns State Park- Marianna, Florida

October 25, 2008 We picked up our Motor Home from Camping World in Midway, Florida and decided to head to Florida Caverns State Park. It was just a short run west on I-10. The park is only about 8 miles off the interstate and an easy run from camping world. We had some repairs done on our generator and rear a/c. Fortunately the repairs were covered by the very expensive RV insurance we bought through National Insurance when we purchased the motor home. It was the first time we had to use it and were hoping for the best. After a little prodding they agreed to cover all the repairs. We are happy with them so far. The cost to us would have been over $1500. We has reserved site # 8 and stayed 3 nights. It was a nice site, private, easy to get into, across from the bathhouse, private and very large. All Florida campsites have to be reserved through Reserve America. The best site was #16 but all of the sites on the outer loop were nice and would work for a larger RV. The rates were $17 per night which is reasonable. The road around the campground was quite muddy when we arrived due to some 4 inches of rain the day before but all the sites appeared to be high and dry. It got very cold the first, down to 41 and the next night into the low 30's. Hey, we are ex Floridians and not used to this kind of weather, especially in October! We ran the furnace and stayed warm. It warmed up nice during the day as long as you were out of the wind. We didn't have our kayaks with us which is just as well due to the temperature. The park is on 1300 acres has many wonderful hiking, biking and equestrian trails which wind though forests pines and limestone bluffs. There are many small caves along the trails but the entrances are blocked off to protect people and the caves. There is a guided tour of the main cave $8 per person. The cave is beautiful and well worth the money. There is a visitor center with a history of the area, and a movie showing the cave as well as the history. We had toured the cave a few years ago and decided to go hiking instead. The following is just one of the many cave entrances we encountered on the trail. There is a separate equestrian are with several campsites and also stalls to keep horses. It is away from the other campground and looked quite nice. The trails would be great for horseback riding. The following is a picture which actually is several campsites in the foreground and the stalls/barn in the background.