A July 2018 Update:
You just can’t go wrong paddling the Silver River. We paddle this beautiful river at least 3 or four times a year and are rarely disappointed. Yesterday was no exception. This update compliments the main documentation on the Silver River, posted here in Florida Paddle Notes on Oct 2013. Complete information on this river can be found there, while this post is a brief narrative on yesterday’s paddle.
Despite the Threat:
The weather forecast changed over the course of the early morning. By the time we arrived at the launch in Silver Springs State Park the forecast was upwards of 60-70% chance of rain. As the last of the kayaks entered the water, the sky was dark and thunder heralded our launch. We agreed to proceed, cautious about lightning, and assumed we would get wet. It is a water sport right?
The Fort King Waterway flows parallel to the Silver River and enters the river 3/4 mile downstream. This waterway was once part of the Jungle Cruise attraction at Silver Springs, with remnants of a replica of Fort King and a village. This is always a nice start to the paddle. Today it is quite overcast but very humid, so the canopy along the Ford King Waterway is welcomed. Often the famous Rhesus monkeys are seen on a stretch of this waterway, but today they were not there to greet us and we paddled out the gate near the end of the waterway into the Silver River.
After paddling the Fort King Waterway, do not forget to paddle back upstream once entering the Silver River. The main springs begin this journey, which are always a treat to observe. Heading back downstream from the main spring, there are several ‘coves’ with springs along the southern shoreline that are worth visiting. The Silver River riverbed is also quite attractive in this 3/4 mile strip, often missed when taking the Fort King Waterway route.
Gators, Turtles, Birds & Flowers:
At the halfway mark ( +/- ) we take a break at the rest area, relax, have a snack and use the compostable toilet that is available. Rested and ready for the next leg, we head out in a slight drizzle.
The Silver River never fails to showcase the abundant wildlife and vegetation found along it’s flow to the Ocklawaha River. Aside from the numerous turtles that are always in abundance, the many gators and birds, we got lucky to catch a glimpse of a Manatee passing by on it’s way to the spring. The shoreline was in bloom with Pickerel Weed, Cardinal Flowers, Scarlet Rose Mallow and Water Hemlock. Flying overhead, in the trees and on the shoreline were the resident Anhingas, Cormorants, Ibis’, and Herons. Gators, as usual, lurked in and on the mats of Duckweed, swam across the river and baby gators rested near their mamas. Today however…no monkeys!
Flora and Fauna on today’s paddle…
Paddle Notes Summary:
All in all, another great adventure on The Silver River. The overcast, cloudy skies, with a slight drizzle ( 15 min ) made for a cool relaxing paddle. The water was high and the current was more swift than usual. We made good time, paddling the entire 5.5 mile trip in 2.5 hours, despite 2 extended stops. Our average paddle speed on today’s trip was 3.5 mph. For more extensive information on this river see the original post Florida Paddle Notes – Silver River. There you will find detailed information on distances, launches, history and more. This closes another chapter in Florida Paddle Notes.