By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 1/22/2021
Occurred: 4/21/2016
Topics/Keywords: #Places #65thBirthdayTrip #St.Augustine #Florida #AlexanderSprings #OcalaNationalForest #BlueCypress Page Views: 336
All about the thirteenth day of my 65th Birthday Trip.

Today we traveled from my sister's house in St. Augustine down to the depths of Central Florida, with a swimming stop at my very favorite spot there, Alexander Springs State Park.

Travel Day 13
Starting Point St. Augustine, Florida
Point of Interest Alexander Springs State Park
Ending Point Blue Cypress, Florida
Accommodations Blue Cypress Park
Miles Covered 203
Estimated Driving Time 3 hours 31 minutes

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Last night I read on my phone (probably something from Huffington Post) that the most efficient way to pack a bag is by rolling one's clothes, instead of folding them. Apparently rolling them up makes items easier to find, as well as preventing wrinkles from forming. Since we were about to leave Louise's, and she had graciously allowed me to wash our clothes, I decided to give this technique a try. And you really is easier and more wrinkle-free, as well as actually being less work than folding.

My bag, packed by rolling instead of folding.

My bag, packed by rolling instead of folding.

We said goodbye to Louise and Mikey, and headed southwest toward the town of Palatka. This is where I attended junior college, and where Mary and I had our first apartment when we were married in 1972. It's in the upstairs of this building. When we lived there, the bottom floor was an open garage, and there was a porch on the north side that is now closed in.

We didn't bother visiting the junior college because, the last time I was in town, it had changed and grown so much I no longer recognized it. So we continued down US 19 toward the Ocala National Forest and one of my very favorite spots, Alexander Springs.

Of course, the main draw of Alexander Springs is its crystal clear water, so clear one can see over 35 feet to the bottom of the boil. And the main thing to do in it, is swim. Sadly, Keith doesn't think of himself as a strong swimmer, and the relatively cool air temperature, plus the coolness of the water, and its depth, I think kind of freaked him out. So he remained on shore to take photos of me while I went for a swim.

The other major attraction in this park is the nature trail, a look at real Florida jungle. So, after I had showered and dressed, we took a stroll around the boil.

So much water gushes from the boil (an underwater spring) that it forms the Alexander River. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent; but we still intended to get a few miles in before camping for the night, so we contented ourselves with our walk.

This hollow tree, dead, nevertheless serves as framework for a diverse community of plant and animal life, including insects and spiders, and lizards galore.

After the nature trail we left Alexander Springs and continued south on US 19, and other roads, until we found ourselves at our planned campsite of Blue Cypress Fish Camp. For a change, we arrived early enough that the sun was still shining when we set up camp.

Blue Cypress Lake, on whose shores our campground was situated, is big and picturesque. But I found the verdant edges of it to be the most serene.