While I was recently in the sunny state of Florida, had the distinct pleasure of teaming up with the distinguished members of the Seminole County Tourism Board and partaking in several most amusing outdoor activities. You’ve read about my trip to the zoo and ziplining fun, now let us discuss the important matter of going kayaking in Wekiwa Springs National Park which is home to some incredible flora and fauna…
We woke up early at the Marriott Hotel and began driving toward our destination, naturally we took the wrong exit and after a delicious stop at McDonald’s we were back en route towards Wekiwa Springs National Park to start our adventure. Upon arrival we were greeted by our host and were thrilled to see they were open kayaks. An open kayak is more like a semi surfboard that you sit in, pretty cool and the type I’d use if I was to go fishing but I digress…
We proceed to go through a small inlet until we were in this sublime river in the waters of Wekiwa Springs National Park. The park is 7000 acres and is home to coyote, rabbit, deer, raccoon, gray fox, bobcat, opossum, black bear and more. Besides canoeing and kayaking, other popular activities are hiking and camping also very popular with substantial camping settlements established.
As we paddled, the air was calm and the wind was near non-existent except for a casual breeze from in front of us which served well to help us ‘fight the current’ as weak as it were on the way home. We made our way peacefully observing numerous types of birds which are special to the area and were entertained by the stories of our incredibly laid back and knowledgeable guide. At this point we approached the deepest part of the river where supposedly the resident alligators live and if you’re lucky, may get to see them.
I was first to approach said spot and saw what looked like old tires on a log, closer still was another log with at least 5-10 turtles soaking up the sun. As I made my way closer realized that not one but two 7-10 feet alligators were sunning themselves. Immediately ceased paddling and a sense of fear came over me, moments later they moved into the water and probably swam underneath me, pretty cool to be so close to these beasts in their natural habitat.
Continued until we reached a cove before returning the way we came. When I first heard we were going kayaking, wasn’t overly impressed as I’ve always done it on these big windy lakes where there isn’t “that” much to see and it’s a lot of work. There was almost no wind here and at times the river was no more than 5 feet wide and less than 1 foot deep – something different, something cool.
For those of you not so familiar with Seminole County, its right next door to Orlando and considered Florida’s Natural Choice. If you want to visit recommend you look into the countless flights to Orlando then rent a car. When you’re done seeing some natural theme parks in Seminole County, may as well hit up Disney World, Epcot Center and the rest of what makes Orlando so famous.
In case you’re wondering, wasps and poison ivy are what you should be most worried about, NOT alligators. We aren’t food for alligators, maybe if you let your 4 year old kid swim alone while you’re fishing… The poison ivy lines parts of the sides and if you aren’t aware, could be most aggravating. Lots of old trees turn into wasps nests and if you were to seriously disturb one, you’d probably opt to try your luck with the gators to escape them…