Ichetucknee Springs – almost ethereal

We wanted to enjoy a 70 degree bright sunny day so headed out to Ichetucknee Springs near Lake City, FL for a kayak/canoe trip.  We used Ichetucknee Family Canoe for our shuttle and rental since they were close to the put in/take out location and gave us the choice of tandem or single kayaks, sit on or in kayaks, or canoe.  Their prices are very reasonable – about $20 per person for your choice of boat for about 2 -3 hours on the water.  Glenn wisely chose a canoe so we’d be higher up out of the water.  We also took our own seat cushions and life vests – a good move since they are way more comfortable than rental places.

The crystalline Ichetucknee River flows six miles until it reaches the Santa Fe River.  We debated kayaking the Santa Fe River, but it is a blackwater river like the Suwanee and I wanted to see fish and plant life in the water.  The Ichetucknee is pristine and flows through the Ichetucknee Springs State Park and is open only to canoes and kayaks.

Beautiful view up the river

Beautiful view up the river

We saw numerous manatees which come in to warmer spring water during the winter and huge alligator gar along with bass and bluegill. The manatees are so docile and if you are quiet they will come up for air so you can see their snouts and hear them blow out air.

Several manatees swimming together under the canoe

Several manatees swimming together under the canoe

Manatee coming to the surface

Manatee coming to the surface

Manatee resting on bottom

Manatee resting on bottom

Many large gar

Many large gar

After our relaxing trip, we went to the state park since the entrance fee is included in the rental trip.  We hiked the short trail (about 1 mile) to Blue Hole – a huge, deep spring that certified divers can dive into.  We saw all types of fish at the spring and two river otters.

This was on my must-do list while we are in Florida so I was so happy to have the river to ourselves and enjoy the beauty and serenity in peace.  We love being outside and enjoy the solitude.  It disturbs us when people cannot quit talking or lower their volume when they are in beautiful outdoor areas.  When you listen — really listen –you hear the wind in the trees, the rippling of the water, the rustle of bird wings and more.

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