I had forgotten how beautiful some of the Florida back-country can be. We went on aÂ canoe trip with Bruce and Ruth Gee and Bruce’s father. The place is Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge which is about 20 miles North of here.
We rented a canoe from a canoe livery at the boat ramp and went exploring. We first went upstream in the Chassahowitzka River to some springs, then went downstream and into another little backwater where there were more springs. We went farther downstream andÂ stopped at an opening where Baird Creek dumps into the main river and had lunch.
We then went up Baird Creek about 25 minutes to where the stream started.Â Springs flow out of a big crack in the limestone into a pool about 50 feet in diameter. On the left side of one of the pictures you can see the crack. No, not the one of Jean. Get your minds out of the gutter.
When they asked us to go on a canoe ride, Jean was moreÂ than a littleÂ apprehensive. She swam 2.4 miles in the Pacific Ocean, which is full of sharks; swam 2.4 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, which is also full of sharks and stinging jellyfish; rode 26 miles through the backwoods of Northern Michigan in November, twice. And yet she didn’t know if she wanted to take a canoe ride in a River that wasn’t anyÂ more than 4 feet deep. I don’t pretend to understand.
Jean thought the highlight of the whole trip was watching three guys in a boat fishing for Mullet with a bow and arrow. They didn’t get one while we watched them, but we could hear them giving their tribal yell after we had gone about 200 yards downstream. If you’ve ever eaten Mullet you would know that the “yell” was a primitive man thing ‘cuz they aren’t that good to eat.
Our last ride of the year this morningÂ was out at San Antonio, not far from where the Christmas Day tornado struck. You wouldn’t know it from where we rode because it didn’t look damaged at all. The parking lot where the Sunday rides start out had about fifty cars when we got thereÂ and all but a tandem had left already. We only rode 30 miles but it had enough hills to make it a good workout. I had forgotten how peaceful the countryside is around there.
Jean held back and stayedÂ with Larry and me forÂ almost the whole ride. Yes. I don’t needÂ to tell you that the only reason she did was because she couldn’t remember where the turns were. Once we got to a spot where she knew how to get to the car she was off like a shot.
She got that from Jon Anderson I think. Jon would ride with the group on the Saturday rides until we turned and started back to town. He would make some lame excuse about having to get back and feed the dog (they don’t have a dog) and away he would go. The fast riders would go with him and the slow riders (ME) would trudge along and make sure no one had any bike trouble. If I had bike trouble, TOO BAD!
I hope you all have a Happy New Year. Try not to drink too much tonight and don’t drive if you do. Jean and I usually stay up and watch the new year come in, but we’re usually in bed by 12:05 and asleep by 12:06.
Just (Happy To Have Survived One More Year) Jack