12/17/18 Chiefland, FL

DAY #58

Laid down and fell asleep last night around 7:00 pm and woke up at 2:00 am. No TV or Verizon will do that to you. I thought hey, why not take a shower, I’m wide awake, I need one, and it’s a good bet they’ll be open. Took a shower (surprise, no waiting) and after a few games of solitaire on the laptop, thought I’d doze for a couple of hours, then get up and have the whole day to check out the area. Next thing I knew it was 1:00 pm, and I was just waking up, so much for the day…Damn.

OK, all is not lost. I could do some things that needed to get done. I could still make this into a productive day. I walked over to the area around the spring and checked with the concessions about renting a boat or taking a tour on a pontoon. Found out this is their slow season and as such, the boats weren’t available and with the river rising due to recent heavy rains, the pontoon tour was also a no go…bummer! Did check out the WiFi and it works, putting out an OK signal.

After checking on the boats, spent some time around the spring. Manatee Springs is considered a magnitude one spring. It releases between 50 and 150 million gallons of water per day. It’s bigger than Gilchrist Blue Springs but because of the high water, it’s not as clear and at this time, not as impressive.

High water
Manatee Springs.

People were saying they had seen a number of manatees on the other side of the spring. It’s hard to get close enough to see them with the high water levels and diminished clarity. I high tailed it over and there they were, big ones, small ones, plus it looked like a couple of babes. I couldn’t get very good photos of them (today), I was just too far away, and the sun was in front of me. I got to see them, I’m so excited!!!

Coming up for air.
They don’t move very much

They also have a boardwalk you can take down to the Suwannee river. It’s got to be at least 1000 feet long.

I came across a banded brown water snake just hanging out.

I really like the boardwalk. It brings you to areas otherwise unreachable.

Coming into the spring from the river.
No motors!
Looking both directions, Suwannee River.

Enough of this nature stuff, it was time to head for civilization. The trucks wheel wells had become caked with sand (actually I think it’s limestone) from the roads at Gilchrist. I washed the truck, headed to McDonalds, and then off to the Wal-Mart parking lot. Why the Wal-Mart lot? Since I can’t reach the site to download the blog from the campsite, I need to go where I get a signal, and Wal-Mart with its spacious parking lot seemed a good place to go.

After finishing up it was time to head back to camp. No TV or Verizon, this is going to take some getting used to.