OCKLAWAHA RIVER, FL — Deep under the shade of cypress, swamp maple and sable palms, central Florida’s Ocklawaha River runs clear and cool, even now in the stifling heat of summer. Out here on a weekday afternoon, far removed from the sound of civilization, you can kayak through a forest so thick you’ll wonder if you’ve drifted back into another age.
JUNIPER SPRINGS STATE PARK, FL — As the sun rises over the tall grass and scrub pines of Juniper Prairie Wilderness, lighting up the mist on Hidden Pond, the only sound is the gentle breeze in the trees and the occasional call of scrub jays or the echo of woodpeckers. Here in the nation’s southernmost wilderness, six miles by trail from the nearest road, dawn comes quietly and reveals a landscape barely changed by the passage of time.
Located in deep in the heart of Ocala National Forest, about half an hour east of Silver Springs, the wilderness if strictly off-limits to motor vehicles. So to experience this untouched corner of Florida, you’re limited to walking or paddling. Either way, it’s worth the effort. [Read more…] about Juniper Springs Wilderness Experience