Spent some time at a cabin surrounded by the Ocala National Forest. Ahhhhh.
Bug bite prevention ideas below.
Click a photo to start a show.
I spent a lot of time outside during the day and at night. I have 3 mosquito bites and no found ticks. The bites may have come from the first day I was there when the car was stuck in a mud hole and I was caught out without any protection. That’s a story for the next post.
First, spray shirts, shorts, hats, socks, and shoes, to be worn in the woods with Permethrin. Take clothes outside and spray. Let dry prior to packing.
Second, ideas for while you are out:
If you get bit:
I was determined to get out on my paddleboard yesterday. Weatherman said there is rain coming, but not until later that day. He also said that there was some wind, but not too bad. That is what I heard anyway. Thus began…
The Fear Factor Workout
Lil’ Red and I started our way out of the protected launch area.
As we made our way across the lake the wind was blowing left to right. I can handle this. It was blowing me towards the bank so I could not rest without risking being driven into grassy shores. I can handle this. Continue reading
Ever wonder if there are gangs of ducks roaming the streets at night?
Shady characters in the parking lot.
Maybe you should.
I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary by taking the week off. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, I tried to keep myself busy…
I made some pantry cleaning, chicken stew.
I explored a new lake last weekend. It is not as popular with the local stand up paddleboarders as my usual spots, but some do go out there. As the first speed boat passed by, I realized why I was the only paddler there that day. There are very few wake free zones. There were only a few boats out that day, and it is a big lake, so it was not a problem. There was no launch fee, so, I will go back.
Have you explored anywhere new lately?
This past year it seems that I have spent a great deal of time reconnecting. Reconnecting with real food is important but, also, being connected with your environment and the all of the natural beauty around us can go a very long way in keeping us grounded and at peace.
This weekend I took a long but beautiful drive over to Deland Florida. There is company there called Blue Heron River Tours that offers two hour tours twice a day. The tour takes you along the St. Johns River and through old logging canals from the past. It is a taste of old Florida that is a fantastic and easy way to have a break from the tourist area. If you live in Florida or are a visitor, I highly recommend you spend a couple of hours here for a relaxing and interesting look into Florida’s beautiful nature.
We saw several manatees surface for a quick breath before hiding back under the water. This was the weekend of the annual Manatee Festival, and with the cold weather, there were hundreds of manatees seeking the warmer waters of the nearby spring. We also were able to see alligators, turtles, and so many types of birds, that I cannot remember them all. From the boat, we could also see the signs left by those who harvested Cypress trees before they realized that they were not easily renewable because they grow so slowly.
I will let the pictures tell you the rest of the story. Click on a photo for a full sized slide show. Part 2 will come tomorrow with the ” medium” half of the day trip.
Up the Lake Without a Paddle:
As the fog began to rise over the trees, I headed out, eager to embark on my next SUP (stand up paddleboard) adventure.
~ wait ~ I forgot my paddle…turn my steed around and head back to the homestead. Paddle now on board, off to the refreshing ambiance of the lake.
Traveling to the Canal:
When I pushed off from shore the wind was fairly calm. I decided to go for my longest paddle thus far, 3 miles round trip. I passed a few paddlers and a fisherman along the way. A beautiful morning, a fabulous workout. There were a couple of homes for sale along the way so I stopped and put in bids.
Florida’s Venetian Canal:
The canal is a beautiful, long and narrow passageway between lakes. It was used by loggers a looong time ago. The canal insists that you are in the moment. It has twists and turns that you you hope to not find a boat behind. I only had to pass one boat and, luckily, we met in an area that only required him to back up a few feet into a a small recess. It was a boat that gives tours of the lakes and canals in the area. Hopefully, the clients did not hear my colorful declaration when I realized we were headed for each other.
The Long Journey Home:
I had decided to see how fast I could make it back to the launch site. It took me about 40 minutes to get out there at a leisurely, take pictures, figure out where I am going, kind of pace. When I came out of the canal, I was blown back by the wind. I discovered that I make a pretty good sail. This prompted a decision to sit and paddle kayak style. That lasted about 15 minutes. By then my arms were crying and I had made it to the other side of that lake. There, the houses and trees provided a bit of a wind break. Two ladies were emerging from the short canal leading home and asked where something was. I did not know but told them where the Venetian canal could be found. I was thinking, “good luck with that in this wind.” As I made my way through the mini-canal, I heard them coming up behind me. They turned around fast…Am I going that slow? Ugh…I paddled and paddled but they still passed me with ease after we exited the canal. I blamed it on being tired at the end of a long paddle. Once we made it to shore (with a 30 minute time) I discovered that they run a SUP tour business in another town. I suppose it is okay for professionals to pass me with faster boards. 8)
How many dogs can you find? (Click photo for a slide show)
Shoot the canal
Can trees swim?