July 5, 2008

Rum Island Springs Retreat

Note: Due to overwhelming inquiries, we will be doing another Rum Island Springs trip in August 22-24th, 2008. Contact us for more information and to reserve your spot. Check out http://bioticatours.com/rum%20island.htm for more details.

We just returned from an absolutely amazing trip to Rum Island Springs and the Santa Fe River, near Gainesville Florida. It was so much fun I didn’t want to come back! The cabin was amazing. Literally, we were within walking distance of one of the most beautiful natural freshwater springs in Florida. The water is crystal clear and such an amazing shade of blue. The temperature stays around 70 degrees year round, so a dip feels remarkably refreshing after floating down the river in a kayak.

The cabin retreat where we stayed was wonderfully comfortable and inviting. It is situated on ten acres of woods adjacent to the river that are home to numerous birds. We enjoyed sitting out on the balcony in the morning watching brilliant red cardinals swooping among the branches.

One of my favorite things about the cabin was the fantastic outdoor kitchen and dining area. We hung out in the outdoor kitchen until 2 in the morning just talking, laughing and playing some cards. The outdoor temperatures are marvelous this time of year and we were serenaded by the sounds of cicadas and a boisterous chorus of frogs. One of the best things about the trip was the marvelous food. We always eat very well on our outdoor excursions. It seems that food always tastes better when you work for it.

The river itself is one of my favorite paddles in Florida. The water is so clear that you can see turtles swimming underneath your boat. Wonderful aquatic grasses stream below your prow and you occasionally see the darting of a startled fish. Wonderful birds line the banks, fishing in the shallows. We saw numerous egrets and herons as well as kingfishers and wood storks. In the late evening hours we would hear the call of the Barred Owl. We couldn’t seem stay off of the river and ended up taking several short trips both up river and down stream to check out some of the remarkable surrounding springs. Ginnie Springs, though extremely popular with the locals, provides some amazing snorkeling opportunities. I am glad we weren’t staying so close to all the hubbub, though it made me appreciate our quiet cabin nestled on its ten acres of private woods all the more.

The cypress trees along the river are truly amazing. It is easy to forget to look up and notice how truly remarkably tall they are. I am truly amazed that anyone would ever consider cutting down these exceptional trees for yard mulch. The Santa Fe River ecosystem is desperately in need of conservation. Local ecotourism demonstrates to the residents and policy makers in the area that the local economy can benefit from the preservation of this awe-inspiring region.