Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wekiwa Springs

Just got back from Wekiwa Springs State Park.  It was a  nice park, but doesn't compare to Ft. Desoto - I think we are a bit spoiled.

We headed over around 2pm Friday.  Apparently, we were just ahead of the I-4 shutting down due to the brush fire near Disney!  We saw the smoke as we approached the Disney area but didn't have a traffic problem.  Once we got on the 429 heading toward Apopka, I looked online to find that I-4 had just been shut down!  Had we been caught in that mess, it would've taken us forever to get there!

The park itself is huge, a lot of trails for biking, walking and horses.  The campground was OK, not anything spectacular.  It was full and mostly families - so that was nice.  The bathhouse was probably the cleanest I have seen besides Ft. Wilderness.  It had no A/C though.  Saturday night, there was no hot water in the shower stall we used - my girls were not happy.  Our site backed up to the bathhouse area so it was really close.

As for the canoe/kayaking....well, let me tell you it was a serious hike to get those things to the launch.  We lugged 2 kayaks and 1 canoe down a somewhat steep sandy grade.  I had my kayak on a dolly until the sand got so thick, it couldn't be pulled through it.

We headed out on the river.  The water levels were somewhat low so there were a ton of tree limbs to maneuver around.  Rentals are VERY popular so there were kayaks and canoes EVERYWHERE.....lots of bumper cars as most people were new to kayaking.  I didn't see a gator but heard them.  The kayak trip was nice enough, not buggy, a bit hot and except for dealing w/ kayak traffic - was a nice ride.  However, hiking those things back up the launch was awful!  I was stressing not doing my Insanity workout this weekend, well I got an insane workout!!  It was just too much work to carry the boats all around.

The spring area was very cold and crowded.  For a spring fed lake, it was covered with algae.  People would stand on the rocks and move the algae around so it was floating all over the spring.  The snorkeling wasn't that great because of the algae but the kids did see some fish and Delena snorkeled over the spring itself which was really deep.  I didn't get in, I couldn't handle the cold but my kids did for a little bit at least.

We took our Aussie for a nice run down to Sand Lake.  He hiked a small trail down to the lake and let Pepper splash around and get a drink.  We saw two gators in the water while down there.  It was probably about a  1 mile bike ride from the campground to the lake, so Pepper got plenty of exercise!  We didn't do any fishing this trip either.

And, we can add camping in a tropical storm to our list now.  Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville.  While the news was talking of rain and high winds....we got nothing!  Only a small rain storm Sunday afternoon.  Everything dried out really quick and didn't get in the way at all.

Overall, the trip was nice.  It wasn't the best place for taking the boats.  But we enjoyed it.  The kids had a great time - they rode their bikes a ton!

We were in site 42.  There are two loops, 1-30 and 31-60.  Loops 31-60 are a bit more secluded.  Loops 1-30 were a bit bigger but closer to the road and had some road noise.

Here are some pictures!

Campsite 42.  Some shade.

Delena snorkeling in the spring. 

The road going through the park. 

Here the kids are trying to get up the nerve to get in. 

Another view of the spring, there is a large grassy area on a steep hill leading to the spring.

What campground wouldn't be complete without wildlife!  Raccoon on our campsite!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Trips Booked....Sort of

We have been trying to figure out what to do this fall.  State park campgrounds in Florida book up so quickly, its like a game to stay on top of trips.  I constantly have to be thinking ahead and even then, things don't always work out like we want.

We are so spoiled with waterfront sites at Ft. Desoto that if we can't get one, we just don't go.  After all, with 3 kayaks and a canoe, waterfront is really a must!  So, it turns out that Thanksgiving is very popular for Ft. Desoto and since we can't book until 6 months ahead, apparently all the county residents who can book 7 months in advance took all the good sites.  Therefore, Ft. Desoto was out for Thanksgiving.

Back to the drawing board.

We decided to take a week to go see the leaves in Georgia. So, we booked Tallulah Gorge again, October 22-27 for 5 nights.  But we still have to decide what to do with Saturday (20th) and Sunday (21).  Tossing around a couple of options --- Stone Mountain for two nights, High Falls State Park, Vogel State Park and adding 2 more nights to Tallulah Gorge.  I was leaning toward Stone Mountain because it has full hookups and would give us a chance to clean our tanks good.  But the park is somewhat pricey and the campground prices are similar to Ft. Wilderness.  We have heard wonderful things about High Falls so now I am leaning towards booking that.  This trip will be to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.  However, before booking Tallulah Gorge, we just about booked Top Sail and Florida Caverns.  Still need  to do that one!!

Now for Thanksgiving.  I was playing around on the Florida State Parks website and there must've been a cancellation because I had not been able to get a site previously....so we were able to get 4 nights (Wed - Sat) at Anastasia State Park.  I'm very excited to take the kids to St. Augustine.

Next big trip then will be New Years.  I'm actually thinking of booking (if possible) Ft. Desoto for Christmas Eve - New Years Eve.  We are contemplating not doing individual gifts this year and just getting passes for Disney World again.  It would be cool to go to Ft. Wilderness for that time but I thinks its typically way too expensive!  I have a few weeks to figure this one out, but the window at Ft. Desoto opens in June for Christmas!  So not too much time to decide :)

Does anyone else feel like staying on top of trips is frustrating?   It would be nice to be spontaneous once in a while.
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