Thursday, July 26, 2012

Econfina Creek

Summertime is when I work on my archives, clean up and better organize files... and discover gems I mighthave inadvertently passed over.  This is an endless task, of course, but it has its rewards... like....
I came across photos from a magical morning paddle last year to some springs on Econfina Creek that I had not seen before.
On a cool clear April morning, John and I got up about 3:30 AM to make the two hour drive, launch our boats, and paddle downstream to the springs by about daybreak.  Mist was swirling over the water as the sun spread its golden fingers into the spring runs.  I was blown away.  How could I have lived in the FL panhandle for 30 years and never been here?!  Emerald Spring, Gainer Springs, McCormack Spring, and Pitts Spring all within an easy paddle from the Hwy 20 bridge.  Have a look...

All but Pitts are on private land and therefore only accessible by watercraft.  Pitts Spring appeared to have been "loved to death", with great swaths of algae and giant river frog tadpoles in the bowl, and overkill-state-construction-work paving and reshaping the surrounding park.  Not much natural left.

After a glorious morning of shooting, exploring, swimming, and napping, we returned to the truck and went in search of Gulf Coast Lupine.  This is a fairly rare and very localized wildflower that I had heard was in bloom not far from where we launched.  With detailed directions (Thanks Billy), we found the flowers along a roadside and made a few photos.
So, the drudgery of organizing files has its gifts...  reminders of near-forgotten  moments and places explored. 

Our springs are struggling now as Florida's population burgeons, overdrawing the groundwater and carelessly allowing far too many pollutants in our runoff.  How long until Emerald Spring looks like Pitts?  I must return there with my children soon.