Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hidden Springs

I saw a notice posted by Facebook Friend Jim Robison that there would be a "Hidden Springs" hike in the Seminole Forest and thought that would be a lovely day. Carolyn decided she would like to go along, too. As the date approached I started to wonder how much hiking this would be. If I search the springs online it looked like a 10 mile loop! Fortunately, it turns out that the main distance there and back is by car. Whew.

We all gathered at 9 and one of the first people who spoke to us turned out to be Jim in person. A nice way to start. Soon, Bill Belleville spoke about the springs and conservation.

Bill Belleville

Ranger Ralph had map duty before he dispensed some information before we all spilt into groups and headed off toward the springs.

Ranger Ralph

Turns out that Jim ended up being our driver as the several cars headed down dirt roads to our first stop at a spring discovered only 3 years ago. Most springs are close to the roadways but this one required a 1/2 mile hike to reach through pine flats and palmetto scrub.


We had to backtrack after a wrong turn but relocated the pink markers that led us back toward the path and made our way across the muddy ground before the vegetation opened up revealing Helene Spring.

Helene Spring

Leaves just below the surface were gathering sediments along their edges.


Minnows swan and searched for food along the surface of this marvelous upwelling of water.


As we headed back to the cars I noticed one of the tree trunks covered with dainty, flowering fern.


The path back was lined with many other flowering plants like blueberries getting an early start before Spring.


Ranger Mike gave a quick talk about the next spring we were to visit, Palm Spring, before we headed down a steep slope covered with slippery pine needles.

Ranger Mike

Palm Spring is made up of several spring heads that feed water toward the river downstream.

Palm Spring

Leading away from the spring heads, filaments of sediment twist and sway in the current.

Palm Spring

Ranger Mike said he wasn't sure why the spring was named Palm Spring but, to me, the presence of many toppled, decaying palm trunks makes it fairly obvious. It was most likely ringed by many palm trees back in the day.

Palm Spring

On the way out, another boil could be seen in the slow moving water, churning the sand as it reaches the stream bed.

Palm Spring

Next up, Boulder Spring. It have a small boulder at the boil area that remind some of a small bear cup taking a sip.

Boulder Spring

Our final stop before heading back to the parking lot was Sharktooth Spring. Like many springs in Central Florida, this spring deposits ancient shark teeth left behind from when this area was ocean water millennia ago. I scooped one small segment of sand and easily found a small sharks tooth right at the surface. I have a bunch from a trip to Kelly Spring just up the road when I visited there in my high school days.

Sharktooth Spring

A perfect end to January. Temperatures were excellent and the company as we traveled was entertaining and informative. We will have to venture out here again some day on our own or to show some friends. There are springs to visit all over the region when we have the time.

No comments: