Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ichetucknee Springs

Dying to see more vacation pictures? Thanks to my brother John and his wife Vicki, I have access to the photos they took from their camera while we were in Florida. The highlight: our July 4th mini-float trip down the Ichetucknee River. (And by mini-float trip I mean a short, 1.5 hour trip, not a trip on teeny tiny floats. Har de har.)

Here's what you need to know about the the Ichetucknee. Bottom line: crystal clear, spring-fed river. Cold. Mighty cold. Claims to be only 72 degrees but it feels closer to the ideal temperature to serve beer.

I've never floated an Oklahoma river before so I don't have much to compare it to but hearing stories from those who have tells me floating the Ichetucknee is a little different. I mentioned the river's the perfect temperature for beer but no beer's allowed on the river - no coolers, food, etc. For one, the float trip's not long enough. For another, it used to be a free-for-all, which appeals to the Libertarian in me but spoils the trip for everyone else. Florida owns and maintains it and sets and enforces the rules. For once, government intervention is a good thing.

There are all kinds of float vendors up and down the highway that takes you to the park. Lowe's was our choice and they were very good. We pointed at the floats we wanted and they lashed 'em down for us:

They have a drop off spot at the end of the trip and that's the end of that. Well worth the price. Especially when your brother is picking up the tab.

The morning of July 4th, things can get a little crowded:

But we got in and parked and our group re-grouped at the pick-up point where the park's tram loaded us up and hauled us to the drop-off point. A little backed up there, too, but in no time we'd splashed in - great big yelps of surprise at the water's coldness - and we were off for a gentle drift down a river in the heart of wild Florida for the next hour-and-a-half.

Rachel take it easy in her boat. There's Emily in the background. Uncle John's feet in the foreground:

Sometimes the way gets a little jammed. No problem. These things sort themselves out:

(I think that's the girls' cousin Kristen in the above picture. . . No, it's Emily. . . No, Kristen.)

Why don't I just step aside and let the beauty of the place speak for itself. I don't know if John or Vicki took the following but they're lovely and I thank them for it:

An hour-and-a-half turns out to be the perfect length of time for such a trip. The water was cold and there was much of the day still ahead of us so, though we were glad for the chance to experience this part of Florida with our family, we were glad, too, to get out and move on to the rest of the day.

(Thanks to Uncle John and Aunt Vicki for making the trip memorable and capturing a part of it so we could re-live it. They're a pretty good couplea people.)

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