Monday, April 25, 2016

Salt Springs, FL: Escape From City Life, Almost

Ahhh...camping in Florida in April. A mere 90 minute drive from the crazed traffic of Orlando to the middle of the Ocala National Forest you find yourself with no cellphone service and more than 30 miles to the nearest Walmart. You may expect a starry night around the campfire and the chance to fall asleep to the sound of crickets chirping...well, it is something like that.
First thing, I had to turn this into an adventure and made that drive almost two hours longer by going to Sunglow Pier in South Daytona Beach and driving A1A up to Flagler pier. That is my favorite stretch of road in Florida. I looked at some pretty messy waves until I got up near Flagler and then saw enough surfers that I had to give it a shot. It was a tough paddleboard day, lots of whitewater, short wave interval, and bumpy waves. It was fun and difficult and 45 minutes of that was all I needed.
I then drove the final half of the journey to meet up with my brothers at Salt Springs. This year, we got a very nice spot to camp in. At Salt Springs, you need to carefully select your campsite or you find yourself in the middle of a field with no trees in the blazing sun. This time we got the trees...and then it rained. This is the first trip I've been rained on, and it was bad enough that we drove the 35 miles to Palatka to eat at Sonny's because it was pouring too hard to cook.
Fortunately, my tent turned out to be fairly waterproof and the only other issue with nature were the few ticks I found crawling up my legs....seeing that was enough to make me get up and dance like never before.
Saturday was nothing like Friday. It was a beautiful day of hiking, sun, snorkeling in the Springs and cooking way too much meat for meals. In fact, it usually takes me a week to detox from our camping trips.
Actually, most of the time is spent talking politics, movies, the good old days, our jobs, and the world in general. My new thing of sleeping with a CPAP machine has definitely made a difference because I am now offically not the first one to go to bed. On the flip side, I can still remember laying in my sleeping bag at 12am in the morning, listening to an Airboat with a V8 and no mufflers roaring around the big lake...I sure hope they found some alligators, I'm telling you it was worse than sleeping next to a biker bar at closing time.

The water temp was awesome and it is well worth bringing your mask and snorkel...just bring earplugs if you plan on sleeping there!

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