Friday, March 28, 2008

Paddling Lake Seminole From Three Rivers State Park

We need the tonic of wildness…and some life pasturing freely
where we never wander.
~Henry David Thoreau

Well, I changed my non-paddling camping plans when the wind forecast for my original destination indicated gusts up to 25 mph. That makes it difficult to put a tent up alone! So I switched parks and went back to Three Rivers, which has been a favorite for a long time. The new Manitou went with me.

I was very lucky with the wind and weather this time, which gave me two great paddling days on a calm lake. On the first day I paddled out past Sneads Park, which looks like this on the way back:

The shoreline of this lake varies from being woodsy to marshy. The tall grasses looked very pretty in the sunshine.

As with the rest of our area of north Florida right now, there are very few birds out and about (I wonder if the people south of us, in warmer climes, are remarking on how many birds they see on their waterways?). As I noted last spring, the American coots seem to enjoy this lake. And I enjoy the American coots because they literally make me laugh out loud with their method of running on top of the water when they are fleeing. "Ungainly" comes to mind (but I love them for it).

Once they get that running start, they are able to fly, though...

I was on the water about 3 hours the first day, and then decided to do some hiking. Spring has come to this area and the flowers and bright green leaves are simply gorgeous.


The nature trail from the campground to the boat ramp is very, very green, with wildflowers scattered here and there.

The next day I spent most of the morning at the campsite reading and enjoying the view. I met Lloyd, from the Niagara Falls area, who was camping with his wife Dolly. He had brought his kayak and after we chatted for a while he headed out to explore the lake. I waited for it to warm up a little and then set out myself.

Again, only coots for company, and one little blue heron. And then a great blue heron joined me. He would fish along the bank and pose for a while until I got too close, then fly a short distance ahead of me. Pose...

...and fly away.

At one point he flew back in the direction we had come from, and I thought that was it for my companion, but shortly after leaving, he swooped back by me and stopped on the bank (yes, could have been a different one, though it was the same smallish size) in a woodsy area of shoreline ahead of me.

And then it was getting to be time to head back to the campsite for dinner, so goodbye, great blue heron.

I wandered down to the fishing pier after dinner to see if the sunset was worth a photo (not really). While there I talked with some people who were fishing. A man came to the end of the pier with his daughter and their dog and proceeded to teach the girl how to fish. I took a stealth photo (that is, they weren't aware I was pointing the camera at them). When I was processing it, I realized that, except for the guy's camo pants, this could have been taken 50 years ago. (Camouflage clothing had been invented but wasn't widely used in civilian life...) (I checked.) So I decided to process it as an older photo to enhance that sense of timelessness (ignore the pants). I call it "Anticipation."

I didn't get out paddling the next day but rather just packed up after breakfast. A wonderful couple from Canada moved into the site next to mine and we spent a lot of time talking (I met fantastic folks on this particular trip).

I plan to get out next week to see if the birds are back to the Wacissa, and I have another Cedar Key trip coming up. I can't wait to get back on the water there. Stand by.

NOTE: I had a lengthy ranting nutcase comment here, despite having that code you have to enter (and the fact that I can backtrack such comments, "anonymous" or not). Apparently this guy really wanted to get his words out there. If this person comes back and does that again, I will have to moderate all comments, which I would prefer not to do. Wow, people are strange.


Travis said...

These are stunning photos. I really enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing.

SophieMae said...

Peggy, you have outdone yourself! Anticipation is positively Rockwellian! Would you mind my using it as my desktop background for a while?

Peggy said...

Thanks, Travis and Sophiemae. Help yourself to "Anticipation."

(I SO wish that guy had been wearing Dockers or even jeans....!)

SophieMae said...

Thanks ever so, Peggy! Yes, different trousers would make it PERFECT... but it's awfully close, anyhow. 8-]

The picture so captivated me, I forgot about the rest of your post. Three Rivers is one of my favourite N FL parks. I don't get there nearly often enough. Driving around Lake Semnole last year, we saw what I think was a beaver lodge. Finding a (live) beaver in FL is my number one wildlife goal right now. I know there are some in Tally, but their lake is inaccessible.

silentspringfl said...

Sophiemae nailed it with her Rockwellian observation! Camo pants or no, what a wonderful photo. All of them are! Thank you, as always.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emory said...


Love the B&W photo. Sounds like a really good weekend.

PS. I can't stand people that leave comments like that and then don't even have the guts to sign a name to it. I have always used my name on the internet and tell myself to think about what I am posting. :-)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

That fishing picture does have an "old-timey" feel about it. Almost can see Tom Sawyer going by...

I hope the nutcase is gone from your life. Like you, I can't figure out some people (and probably don't want to).

Sandcastle Momma said...

Your photos are stunning as always. I'm amazed that you are able to get such perfect pictures from a kayak! I love seeing Florida the way I remember it as a kid. Do you ever lead photography/camping excursions? I would love to tag along on one of your adventures LOL

Peggy said...

Thanks, Sandcastle Momma! Hey, drop me an email when you want to go out and we'll do it!

Sandpiper said...

Another set of wonderful pictures and interesting commentary, Peggy. What a beautiful place.

I guess some people need to get a life. I had enable the word verification because of auto-spamming, but so far, so good with the comments.

Crayons said...

Hi Peggy,
These are my favorite photos yet, but I always say that. You captured that blue heron in it's weighty flight. The landscape one of trees with wildflowers is stunning.

I really like the quote at the top of your post.

Stacie said...

oh I agree with the Rockwellian comment..that is such an AWSOME photo. That bird running on water cracked me up too! It's funny, I was thinking, boy, if I ever get to FL I would sooooooo love to go out on a kayaking photosafari with you!

I got an anonymous commenter last was very long, very happens very rarely, and I always delete them, but the good news is they rarely ever come back. I won't share what this guy was all about in case someone does a search for it, but I'm betting he doesn't have any hair if you get my drift.

Awsome photos! I saw a newsclip today of a 7 foot gator on the highway in Lauderdale and thought of you...LOL

Stacie said...

What a great trip, and some beautiful pictures!

Dave said...

Coots, and moorhens, sure are goofy. For a time I wondered if they could fly, seeing so many running on the surface.
I had a lengthy screed on my blog, perhaps the same one you had. That person needs to get outside and away from the computer.