Tyler and I left Manatee Springs just in time; it rained on us as we started our drive to O’Leno State Park, where we would sleep that night.
We pulled into the park, found our campsite, and bought some firewood. The forecast was calling for early evening thunderstorms, so Tyler and I opted to walk a short trail to to the river sink. In this region of Florida, there are many, many underground systems, which result in sink holes, springs, and rivers disappearing underground.
The trail was fairly flat and followed the Santa Fe River. Soon we came across the river sink. There was a remarkable contrast. Clear dark water, met sludgy green. In most places the river doesn’t look like it is moving, but it is, just slowly. As the water disappears underground, anything floating on top remains on top. Hence the green covering at the end.
Out in the middle, there was a log, with several turtles sunbathing! Occasionally, we’d see turtles swimming through the green, leaving a little trail of clear water behind them.
Tyler and I had great timing again. We finished out hike as the first raindrops fell. And this time it poured! We had just enough time to run to the car to get the things to make our dinner. Tyler and I sheltered under a large pavilion with several picnic tables. We had the whole thing to ourselves.
By the time we finished eating, the storm had stopped. We drove our little car back to the campsite where we set it up for “bed mode.” Tyler and I took turns showering and watching the campfire. We sat and chatted for a while until we used up all our firewood. We cozied up in our sleeping bags and went to sleep.