We love Florida Springs

20 Feb

A Slice of Life
Bill Lites

BillAfter we moved to Titusville for my job in the mid 1965, some close friends introduced us to the wonderful life of camping at the many natural springs located down the center of the Florida peninsula. This became one of our favorite adventures; selecting and exploring a new spring as often as we could. In fact, one year, instead of taking my regular two-week vacation all at one time, I would take a vacation day Monday or Friday, and we would make it a three day camping trip to a Florida spring we hadn’t been to before.


Our first camping trip with our friends was to Alexander Springs where we discovered that millions of gallons of beautiful clear cool spring water gushing out of the ground from an underground aquifer every day. What a wonderful place to rest and relax while staying cool on a hot Florida summer day.


That overnight stay was made in a two-man pup tent, you know, the ones with no floor and only a tie string to keep the door flap closed. Well, it didn’t take long to find out the mosquitoe netting we put over our sleeping bags wouldn’t do the trick.


As I remember, our next outing was to Rock Springs, near Apopka, Florida. At the time it was a day park, but floating or walking down the spring run was great fun as we searched for shark’s teeth (of all things) on the bottom. On one occasion, one of DiVoran’s contact lenses popped out of her eye into the clear water of the run. Luckily, the contact lense was light green and I could see it being carried down the run before me as I grabbed for it. Finally after chasing it for nearly 100 yards, I caught it. We would take a watermelon with us and let the water cool it until we were ready to eat it.


Another of our favorite Florida springs was Juniper Springs located in the Ocala National Forest. It was famous for its 7-mile canoe run, and what a beautiful experience that was. By this time we had upgraded from tents to a small tent camper, which made overnight camping much more enjoyable, keeping us up off the ground.


Then there was Blue Springs near Deland, Florida where the Manatees migrate in the Winter. Because the water temperature is a constant 72 degrees, surprisingly, the spring water is sometimes much warmer, during the Winter season, than the river water they usually inhabit.


Further north, just North of Gainesville, Florida is Ichetucknee Springs State Park I believe it was there, as we canoed down that crystalline spring, that we thought about pulling over to the bank for lunch. As the canoe glided toward an overhanging tree branch, I saw a snake sunning itself on that very branch we would pass under, and started back paddling like a motor boat. We didn’t bother it, and thank goodness, it didn’t fall in the boat or bother us.


—–To Be Continued—–


4 Responses to “We love Florida Springs”

  1. Onisha Ellis February 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    I went to youth camp at Rock Springs. It was my first time away from home on my home. Everyone at church thought I wouldn’t last the week. Fooled them! We put watermelons in the springs too.


  2. DiVoran Lites February 20, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I loved this story, of course. Those trips were so fantastic that I began to write a trilogy of novels using them as a base. Sacred Spring is now available on Amazon.com for Kindle (and apps) and in paperback. LIving Spring will be coming out sometime in March, It’s the best way I know to share those incredible places.



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