Wekiwa Springs State Park

March 11, 2012    Florida’s winter temperatures this year have been phenomenal.  While what we normally experience is a far cry from the winters of all our northern neighbors, this year has been almost bizarre.  Temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s have been the norm.  The number of cold days could probably be counted on one hand.

Due to the spring/mild summer weather, we decided to venture over to Wekiwa Springs State Park for their 6th Annual Paint Out.  Twenty-nine nationally renowned artists converge on the Park to take place in this weeklong event.  Spread throughout Wekiwa Springs, Wekiva River Preserve, and Wekiva Island, the artists could be found working diligently at their easels.  As the week progresses the completed works of art are displayed in a large tent gallery set up on the grounds at Wekiva Island.  The Paint Out ends on Friday evening with an auction and workshops with some of the artists on Saturday.
Taking advantage of the formally recognized Wild and Scenic Wekiva River, we headed out onto the river in our kayaks from the Park Marina and headed down the river and then turned upstream to Rock Springs.   Great White Herons, Ibis, Little Blue Herons, hawks and a variety of other birds dot the waterway.  Crystal clear waters allow you to see the small-mouthed bass, turtles and the river grasses as you paddle along. 

Finding artists painting at a variety of venues on land was the norm, but it was surprising to find a handful of the artist had paddled out in canoes to find the perfect spot to paint. We enjoyed the outing, but decided that it would be even more fun if we could enjoy the river coming downstream instead of working against the current. 

The launch area in the Park is 250 yards (this is what we were told—not that we measured) from the parking area.  Alan managed to drag both of our kayaks downhill and then back uphill again when we were finished.  Obviously, this was part of the trip he preferred to omit.  So we were on the search for a more user-friendly option.  Yes, we could have rented kayaks or canoes at the launch but then why would we travel with ours only to rent kayaks on our arrival.

The Tom Turkey
His Harem
While Alan secured our kayaks to the car roof, I chased down a male turkey with his harem as they wandered through the park.  Certainly not pleased with my presence, he kept his tail feathers ruffled for a nice photo.  A gorgeous day out on the water, but we were resolved to find other options, so keep tuned.

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