Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adventures in Silver River State Park

This was a great trip and I have so much to write about so I have decided to do two posts.  Today is:

PART I

Mid-morning last Thursday, we started on our adventure to Silver River State Park.  Located in North Central Florida, the park is designated as part of The Great Birding Trail and the Trail of Florida's Indian Heritage.










About the Park
The park has more than 10 natural communities including a wetland and swamp, an oak hammock and a pine forest that have trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.  You can also canoe or kayak along the Silver River, one of the clearest rivers in all of Florida.



The Silver River originates at Silver Springs, one of the largest artesian spring formations in the world.  It produces nearly 550 million gallons of water a day.  The springs were designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971.  Located at the springs is the Silver Springs Nature Theme Park which will become part of Silver River State Park in October of this year.


Silver River State Park is also home to a pioneer cracker village as well as a Museum and Environmental Education Center.  The center is operated by the Marion County School District and is only open to the public on weekends...and of course is "No Dogs Allowed".

Camping

Our Campsite

We arrived mid-afternoon to check in at our campsite.  All campsites at Silver River State Park are RV and/or tent sites, located on two loops, which means we had electric and water (very convenient since we take the AeroBed) as well as a fire ring, barbecue grill and a picnic table.  All the sites were very spacious.  You can also choose to rent a cabin within the park.

Guard Duty at our Campsite

Immediately upon our arrival we were greeted by the very brazen squirrel (from my post yesterday) who kept coming to drink from the leaky water spigot.  Other visitors to our campsite included cardinals, ravens, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers and an opossum.

Hiking
We woke up bright and early Friday morning to the calls of all these different birds who were announcing the sunrise.  Unfortunately, the sun really didn't come out on Friday so we chose that day to go hiking on several trails.

Ma, me and Uncle Rob at the head of the River Trail

We started by hiking the 0.6 mile River Trail because Daddy-dog and Uncle Rob wanted to see if they could carry Uncle Rob's canoe down to the river.  It was a very nice hike and though it was quite easy and short, we decided that we would not be carrying the 3-man canoe up and down the trail.  (You can however rent canoes and kayaks from the park, which are located at the end of this trail by the river.  If you head out on your canoe from the end of this trail, it is 2 miles up to Silver Springs.)

Walking through the forest

Once we hiked back out from the river, we headed to the 2.2 mile Sinkhole Trail.  The first part of this trail takes you along the cracker village, where you can see the old pioneer style homes and buildings.  It then leads you into several habitats including sandhills, sand pine scrub and oak hammocks. 

On a break during our hike

Again, this trail was an easy one and though we didn't see any actual wildlife here (and there were signs telling you what to look for), we saw A LOT of white-tailed deer tracks (I gave those a few sniffs since I do like venison - I also "left my mark" on the Black Bear sign's post - just saying).

Uncle Rob in the sinkhole

Now, the Sinkhole Trail goes around a large sinkhole.  The sinkhole is pretty wide but is quite shallow (compared to what you think of when you think "sinkhole") - Uncle Rob hiked down into it and it was just like walking down a small hill.  We weren't even sure if we had found the sinkhole - BOL!


There are several other trails that we did not get to this time - the Sandhill Trail, the Swamp Trail, the Old Field Loop and the River Field Loop.  With all these trails, you hardly see anyone else while you are out and about, allowing you to really enjoy the natural habitats.

So happy to be on a hike

Now, be sure to come by tomorrow as I will be posting about our canoe trip down the river where we saw all kinds of wildlife...and yes, we even saw monkeys!  I'll give you all the details tomorrow.

59 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks like a grreat adventure! They're lucky to have you there guarding their campsite.

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    1. I thought so! Guard duty was exhausting.

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  2. Pawsome hiking Oz. That sure looks like a terrific place. Bet you peeing on the bear post will keep him away. Can't wait for tomorrow. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Thanks Molly. I hope that bear finds my message for him. BOL

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  3. That looks like a fantastic adventure, I'm envious after reading that, looking forward to part 2.

    Sheba.

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    1. Part 2 is even better because of all the wildlife!

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  4. Oz, next year we need to come and visit, cause that sure looks like a pawesome place to camp, and hike!

    The Mad Scots

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    1. You come visit and we will go camping and hiking!

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  5. Monkeys? Crackers? The kind that you eat? I want to know more about the Oak Hammock!

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    1. BOL! Not crackers you eat...a Florida Cracker (the white settlers in the pioneer days).

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  6. Sure looks like a great place for hiking! Did you have your own tent? I noticed 2 in the photo.

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    1. No, I am with Daddy-dog and Ma...the other tent was Uncle Rob's.

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  7. Oh love your adventure. Guard duty? BOL
    Benny & Lily

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    1. Hey! Guard duty can be exhausting out in the wilderness. BOL

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  8. Can't wait to hear about the monkies! Looks like a very fun trip - makes me want to go camping again!

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    1. You should go Miss Ann! It is so relaxing and fun!

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  9. Just beautiful Oz! We can't wait to hear about your canoe trip!

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  10. Wow Oz, that all looks like so much fun!! What a great place, and so nice and green. I can't wait to read more.

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    1. It was lovely, Roxy. I love getting out in nature!

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  11. What a beautiful place to camp! Can't wait to hear more!

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    1. Thanks Misaki! Just wait until the monkeys!

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  12. Ring dingy hello great and powerful Oz ~ You went on vacation to see a sink hole very interesting. Oh you might inform your peeps that lugging a canoe on their heads is not a vacation. Is there a five star hotel around there??
    Thanks for showing me your campsite.
    Sweet William The Scot

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    1. BOL! I will tell them Sir William. And no...we went on vacation to go camping, there just happened to be a sinkhole.

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    2. Ding Dong Sweet William calling ~ where is the monkey ~ I came to see a monkey!

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    3. I was working on it when you stopped by!!!

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  13. I can't wait til tomorrow's post, it sounds like a great place!

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  14. Beautiful! You are really making me want to go camping. Can you believe Maya & Pierson have never been camping? I used to go all the time with when I lived in Texas. But that was a long time ago. Time to make some plans!

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    1. You need to go Miss Dawn!!!! Take Maya and Pierson with you...I bark at everybody during the day and no one complains. BOL

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  15. That looks like so much fun! Those bears are going to wonder who was there when they get the pee-mail you left them!

    Can't wait for the monkeys!

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  16. Wowee Oz, what an awesome vacation! You look sooooo happy! I can't believe the nerve of that squirrel...how dare he!! Pft!! ;-) I can't wait to hear all about your canoe trip (Domeek and I have been wanting to get in one for a bit!) and the monkeys! :-D

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    1. That squirrel was sooooo nervy, I tell you. He wasn't even afraid of me. Pft!!!

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  17. This is beautiful! What a wonderful trip!

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    1. It was fun even though it rained a few times.

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  18. Can't wait to see part two!
    Nola

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  19. I like your style of camping, Oz. Great hike and I bet you left your mark on more than the Black Bear sign post. :)

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    1. Oh I did, Sage...I did. I left my mark in many places. The wildlife will be talking for weeks. BOL

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  20. So, so pretty! Looks like you had a blast, too! We can't wait to hear about the monkeys, how cool!

    xoxo
    Marquie, Lassie & Petal

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  21. OMD! Very cool campin' trip Oz!! I musta missed the evil tree rat incident (I'll go and check it out!), you gotta keep your eyes open at all times...they are very sneaky ya know!
    I hopes you left lots of pee mail on the trail for other woodland creatures to read.
    Can't wait to see more! You sure do look happy there Oz!
    Kisses,
    Ruby

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    1. That evil tree rat wasn't afraid of anyone. Just kept coming to drink from the leaky spigot. I guess I can't blame it...it was very hot and humid out but still!

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  22. Your Campsite looks amazing.
    I am interested to see the hiking. I hope there's a video of that.

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    1. No, no video of the hiking...just the photos. But there is a video of the monkeys!!!!

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  23. That looks like so much fun!

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  24. What a great getaway! Definitely looking forward to hearing about those monkeys!

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  25. Great report Oz...Momz and I have spent lots of time in Ocala NF and love hiking the trails there...It's one of our favorites

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    1. I know you have Giz! You are so lucky to be so close to that park...it is really a great one!

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  26. Hey Oz,

    You weren't sleeping whilst on guard duty were you buddy? Tee Hee

    Looks like a lot of fun!

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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  27. That look like a furry good hike my pal.....i is alreddy lookin forrid to tomorrow's tales.....

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  28. looks like a beautiful place and looks like a great time.

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  29. That looks like a great park with some wonderful trails.

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  30. That looks like so much fun, Oz. Good thing you had that link to the definition of "cracker village," because we were thinking it was something like Cracker Barrel restaurant. LOL.

    We can hardly wait to see the monkeys!

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  31. 550 million gallons of water a day and the squirrel drinks from a leaky spigot???

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  32. Sounds like a barktastic adventure! I would have loved to hike all day!
    Dina

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Thank you for stopping by and leaving a pawprint. I enjoy reading each and every one!
Cairn cuddles,
Oz the Terrier