Florida Spring Hopping

September 01, 2016  •  32 Comments

Crystal SinkCrystal Sink

From high in a tree, our very own Crystal Sink

Nothing is more refreshing than to jump into the cold clear water of a Florida spring in the balmy heat of a summer day.  September is upon us but little reprieve from the heat, and Hurricane Hermine just passed right over us leaving a soggy mess in her wake... a hot, sticky, mosquito-laden mess.  So I'm all for revisiting some of Florida's greatest swimming holes and shivering at the thought of diving in.  Ahhhh.....

I have to start with Crystal Sink (above).  It is a karst window sinkhole, not a spring, but its fed from the same caves as Wakulla Springs and I am so grateful to be able to cool off in it every day when the need arises... like when a hurricane has killed the electricity (and A/C),  or when the sweat from doing yardwork is dripping into my eyes, and especially when its time for relaxing.  Instantly rejuvenated, I think of Ponce de Leon's search for the Fountain, and know that this is it.

Here is a selection of a few of my springs favorites, starting at nearby Wakulla.  You may have seen some of these before - or been there in person.  Maybe you have a favorite too.

Manatee LoversManatee Lovers

Many swimmers enjoy Wakulla Springs...

Pied-billed Grebe & CrayfishPied-billed Grebe & Crayfish

And some even find it to be a great place for breakfast.

Flying_Fish_3Flying_Fish_3

In the depths of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge one can glimpse the Flying Fish of Shepard Spring.

Spring AbstractSpring AbstractLooking straight down into a large hole in the rocky creek floor, from which boils the pure elixer of life.

To the west in the panhandle, on the Chipola River many springs beckon. Mystic Spring (3 photos) ...

Hidden SpringHidden SpringChipola River, FL

Mystic Spring DawnMystic Spring Dawn

Mystic at dawn. A collaboration with John Moran.

Maund Spring RunMaund Spring Run

Not far downstream, Maund Spring. The spring is visible (upper left) flowing down the arc of its run to the Chipola (mid-right).  A wide angle lens captured the entire "smile".

Baltzell-2Baltzell-2

Almost a caricature of a Florida oasis, one of the Baltzell Group on the upper Chipola.

Baltzell SpringBaltzell Spring

And another gem from the Baltzell Group.

Blue Spring BassBlue Spring Bass

Jackson Blue Spring, the biggest of the Chipola River system, is spectacular, and a popular swimming hole.  In early morning by boat, I had the place to myself... well, me and this bass.

Jackson Blue Cavern VistaJackson Blue Cavern Vista

Looking out from Jackson Blue's cavern... there's a diving board just overhead...

Swimming at Jackson BlueSwimming at Jackson Blue

Cypress SpringCypress Spring

Cypress Spring's old maple tree in fall. It's a short paddle on Holmes Creek (FL Panhandle) - - so worth it.  

Fall_Spring_Run_VFall_Spring_Run_V

Cypress Spring Run

Surreal_SuspensionSurreal_Suspension

Surreal Suspension. Crystal in the clear waters of Cypress Spring Run.

Where_Spring_Meets_CreekWhere_Spring_Meets_Creek

And where Cypress's waters meet those of a small tannic creek. Some invisible barrier slows the blending of the waters.

Springside FoxgloveSpringside FoxgloveFalso Foxglove. Econfina Creek, FL

Gainer Springs on Econfina Creek (also in the Panhandle) -- a series of crystalline spring vents and surprising wildlife...

Pile UpPile Up

Rise & Fall of Tads 2Rise & Fall of Tads 2

The giant tadpoles of the River Swamp Frog. (I've only seen them there once in these large numbers.)

Bathtub2Bathtub2

One of the many Suwannee River springs... by day...

Oasis_in_DarkOasis_in_Dark

And by night. This one, Oasis in the Dark , was a collaborative project with John Moran. Swimming it at night (to operate the underwater lights) was a chilling experience.

Suwannee BlueSuwannee BlueJohn entering vent at Suwannee Blue Spring

Speaking of the dude... there he is, John Moran in his element.

School of MulletSchool of MulletConvict Spring, Suwannee River, FL

And John's not the only one in its element in Suwannee's springs.  Convict Spring.

Devils_Den2_IchetuckneeDevils_Den2_Ichetucknee

The entire run of Ichetucknee River is like a giant spring, full of clearwater-revelers afloat in tubes all summer.  I had to wait awhile to get this break in the tube traffic.

Devil's DenDevil's Den

Near Williston, Devil's Den is deep inside an above-water cave  The cave roof has a natural skylight, dripping with curtains of vines and soft light.  The underwater caves accessed from here are popular with divers.

Denizen of the DeepDenizen of the Deep

In the wild springs of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, I found myself sharing my swim with an undesirable denizen ... not the best of swimming buddies.

GarfishGarfish

Not far away, the young punk gar hangout was a cool spot.  Fearless of the old gators.

Flowering LightFlowering Light

Volusia Blue Spring, a flower of limerock layers and light. The hard-to-see-diver about halfway up gives you some perspective.  It's deep.

BluesBlues

Pals enjoying Gilchrist Blue Spring. (Every county should have its own "Blue Spring" and many seem to.) Gilchrist Blue is another wildly popular swimming hole for the locals.

Ledge_Spring_0031-lgLedge_Spring_0031-lg

In Ocala National Forest, springs abound, from this small un-named one on Juniper Creek...

Silver SunriseSilver Sunrise

To the most famous, Silver Spring. The spring run is the beautiful Silver River.

Fern Hammock SpringFern Hammock SpringJuniper Springs Recreation Area, FL

Another of my favorites in the Ocala Forest is Fern Hammock Spring, with its beautiful arched foot bridge and stretching live oaks.

Spring Run LightSpring Run Light And here the day (and blog) ends... way back upon the Suwannee River.  

May your eyes (and to the depths of your souls) have been cooled and refreshed.  

Please share this link freely... and I love your comments here at the blog.

 


Comments

Robert Gates(non-registered)
My favorite is Cypress Spring Run. The photo seems so natural, not like a photo. I wonder if you modified the original in any way with Photoshop or Lightroom or other. After looking at yours I think perhaps I increase the contrast too much in the post processing I've done with my landscape photos.
Tara Tanaka(non-registered)
Beyond words David!! You've captured all of my favorite places on the planet in most incredible ways possible!
George Fong(non-registered)
Just beautiful. I wish I could be there.
Don Glenn(non-registered)
Can never get enough of these pics
John Hardt(non-registered)
David - fabulous, as always.....
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