“Why are there two spellings for the area around here?” I asked. “Sometimes we see it spelled with a “w,” like here in Wekiwa Springs State Park, but we have also seen it written Wekiva in other places, even just outside the gate. What's the difference?”
“Both are Creek Indian words,” he answered with a big smile. “Wekiwa means bubbling water, and Wekiva means flowing water, so Wekiwa is the spring, and the river the springs feed is the Wekiva River.”
|Trail to Sand Lake|
Our first morning was quiet and hot as always in Florida in August, but with low humidity and a nice breeze. Ilse and I took a leisurely bicycle ride on the shady two-lane park road to Sand Lake. We walked around the small, pretty lake as a nice quiet interlude. We were struck by the silence. No birds, no wildlife at all. A really odd experience for mid-August Florida. We saw a single Gopher Tortoise, and that was it. The lake is ringed with picnic tables and grills, and, unfortunately, cans and bottles left over from the careless few who leave it to someone else to haul out their trash.
While we were talking to the young man who was taking a break from hustling with kayak paddles and life jackets to the constant stream of paddlers, we noticed two aluminum Grumman canoes tied up at the bank with turtles in them. Not just a few common cooters, but quite a collection of different turtles, all taken from the river and spring area. Several young men and women were taking a break nearby, stripping off scuba gear and wet suits. One heavily tattooed young man in a soggy tee-shirt and swimsuit came over and began chatting with us when I pointed at a small soft-shell snapper that was crawling along the bottom of one canoe. When I called another one a mud turtle, he grinned and said, “Well, yes, but it is actually a variation of a musk turtle.”
Next: Back to Anastasia - Another view of one of our favorite campgrounds at:
More info about Wekiwa Springs at: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Wekiwa-Springs