Monday, March 2, 2015

Rainbow Springs State Park

It was worthwhile for us to make the trip to Carbondale, despite the cold, snow and ice we encountered during our travels.  Seeing our grandson was worth it all.  Nathaniel is now one years old, and as yet not walking.  He, however, can balance himself very well when standing.  He just has to learn that walking is not possible when he is chattering and waving his arm around!
Grandmother never learned that letting him in the back room makes for trouble, when Nathan gets in there he rapidly moves to stick his hand in the kitty litter, or play in the cat's drinking water.
We hated to leave Carbondale, but my spirits felt a lift Friday once we crossed the Florida line and started seeing a green world after all the gray landscape of the Midwest.  Spring is in bloom in northern Florida.  Also, what I noticed right away, is the presence of many small puddles, and ponds which is characteristic of Florida- and, along with that, the many wading birds. One egret flew above are car soon after we entered the state, and more could be seen hanging out in the watery ditches alongside the highway.
Speaking of water, we stopped at Rainbow Falls State Park on our way to Homosassa Springs Sunday afternoon.  We thought we were stopping just to see some falls, but the park also has gardens which, as you may notice above, are quite lush with vegetation.  In the 1920s it was a major tourist attraction with glass bottom boat tours on the Rainbow River, as well as a zoo and rodeo.  Waterfalls were built with soil from phosphate pilings.  It closed in the mid-1970s, and in the mid-1990s reopened as a state park. 
Pictured above is a wild azalea.  In the early spring the entire headspring area's azaleas bloom into vibrant colors of pink, white and red.  At the time of our visit those blooms were already starting to die off.
As we walked the paths of the gardens and falls we noticed that most of the people in the park were there to swim.  An area of the springs is marked off for swimming and snorkeling.  The water stays a constant 72 degrees, and the swimming hole has a depth of 5-15 feet.  This is one of the largest springs in Florida.  The river is also active with many ducks and wading birds.  In the picture above see if you can find the white egret.  We would have like to have lingered longer in this park, but we still wanted to see Homosassa Springs and the manatees before dusk.

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