We arrived at beautiful Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest on March 18th.
When I first saw the spring’s swimming pool, I thought that it needed to be cleaned because there was a lot of “seaweed” on the bottom. Then, as Ron and I walked toward the concession area we passed a sign that explained the “weeds.” (See below.) And after I took these photos, several whooping teenagers cannonballed into the water. (By the way, the “stuff” on the surface that looks like flotsam is actually rippled reflections. The water is pristine.)
When we arrived at the campground, I had expected to have electric and water hookups — but I hadn’t read the description closely enough. There were no hookups, and we were booked for 4 days.
It wasn’t a big deal. We needed some practice camping without hookups since I dream of doing extensive boondocking someday. We had replaced the lights with superbright LED’s, so they used only a miniscule amount of power. There was plenty of battery power for lights, the water pump, fan, and most of the essentials. We could charge the laptop and cell phones from the house batteries. If I had thought there was a chance we would be without hookups, I would have brought the solar panel along, though.
The only things we couldn’t use were the air conditioner, microwave and electric heater. The air conditioner was no problem. The weather was chilly! No microwave was a minor inconvenience. But no electric heat was a problem, because Ron had forgotten to bring our catalytic heater! So we made a run into Silver Springs to look for another one.
Since winter was past we doubted that we would be able to find one anywhere in stock. But Walmart had one lone Coleman Blackcat heater left. It had obviously been returned and was missing some of the packing. But when we took it back to the camper and fired it up, the gentle heat it produced was heavenly!
We were originally assigned a campsite in the oldest section of the campground. Our site was spacious and I was happy with it. But there were a couple of big rigs in that loop that ran their generators nonstop. It really detracted from the ambiance of quiet camping in the woods!
On our second day a ranger came by and said we would have to move. A tree in front of our site was leaning and was subject to fall at any moment.
I wasn’t thrilled about having to move. But it worked out well, because the second site was much larger, more private, and there were no generators back there!
My blog header photo of Ron was taken in the second site.
We spent our days walking the trails, picnicking at the concession area, and visiting with other campers. One of the guys had a 1969 Corvair motor home and gave us a tour. He said their national rallies draw around 15 units. We also met another Aliner owner–a very nice couple from New Jersey. And we met a former Aliner owner at the dump station! They had moved up to a motor home.
We also chatted with another couple in a tent that we thought might have been homeless. But we didn’t want to pry.
And we endured a couple more days of cold and rain that made us feel like we were back home again!
We saw several canoers. We were tempted to rent a canoe, but were on a fairly tight budget. With Ron’s Senior Pass, we were only paying $10.00 a night to camp. It cost $33 to rent a canoe. So we stuck to walking and taking photos!
One of the most interesting features in the little creeks around the spring are numerous “boils.” The sand roils, scouring out white circular clearings on the bottom. It’s caused by water erupting through cracks in the underlying limestone. Somewhere we read a sign saying that acid rain is causing the limestone to break down at an increased rate. I imagine that would mean that the number of sinkholes in Florida will increase, too.
This old stone bridge was built by the CCC back in the 30’s. A nearby sign states that the bridge itself is still structurally sound.
Since this post is getting way too long, I’ll post the rest of my photos without comment.
I apologize for the photo layout. I’m just learning how to use the software and the photos don’t appear where I think they will.