We started camping again the beginning of September as usual, heading off to Silver Springs State Park, and hoping that a bit of cooler weather works its way down from the north. No such luck this time. Tropical Storm then Hurricane Sally passed by well offshore but still the system influenced our weather. And by influenced I mean a lot of rain starting early to mid afternoon most days, and lasting all night in one case. Morning temperatures did stay comfortable because of all that rain.
We love visiting the original park of Silver Springs State Park, the tourist attraction from the 1920s until the state purchased it in 2013. A 2.5 one way trail leads there from the camping and history outdoor museum part of the park, but we choose to drive along US 35 and enter from the US 40 entrance. Due to Covid, we expected parts to be closed. A sign on the door announced the museum with the history of the Silver Sprints park closed, but in the windows all along the sidewalk and around a corner the windows contained exhibits to peruse while walking in open air. The glass bottom boats ran on a limited schedule, and we watched as one went out. We saw the family groups on the boat nicely spaced, a far cry from the usual shoulder-to-shoulder experience during other years. Many people kayaked by as we walked around the trails near the water proving what we read, that the kayak concession remained open.
We walked the Ross Allen Island trail, all boardwalks. On our last visit we saw the wild rhesus monkeys from the boardwalk, but even though several signs warned about them, we saw none this time. The very wet, tropical weather of the past week and the large leaved plants and flowers gave a real jungle flavor to the walk.
We arrived early to avoid the heat of mid-afternoon, and of course the rain. Very few people walked about, and several obviously stopped for food or brought some from home and sat relaxing along the water enjoying their meal. We knew the restaurant opened later. We took the boat tour many times, so this trip we walked the concrete path along the spring and out to the river, enjoying the plant and animal life to see the sights from land. More about that next post…