07:03:11, Forida – Today was a 5 mile reverse paddle up Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest. Juniper Springs is a natural spring with crystal clear water winding through a semitropical wilderness. The run is 7 miles from the spring head to a takeout at the bridge crossing on Hwy 19.
Let me tell you, this is a must do. Juniper Springs is simply the most beautiful run you can imagine. But don’t let the idyllic setting lull you into thinking this disney-like spring is going to play nice. The current is swift and steady as it cuts around dozens of tight curves with all sorts of tree action that will knock you silly as you’re hypnotized by the drop dead beauty of this piece of natural perfection.
Even though it is done (often with regret) I would not advise taking a canoe up or down Juniper Springs. A kayak is the best boat for this run. My wife went with me on this paddle and as we slowly progressed up stream we pulled over several times to let drifters pass by that put in at the spring head in canoes. From the looks on their faces they had no idea what they had gotten into. They were even more confused as to why we were heading in the opposite direction.
Be on the lookout for an alligator that wants to hop in your boat. My guess is drifters have been tossing their lunch at him so now he thinks people are his primary food source.
NEVER FEED THE ALLIGATORS!
Juniper Springs is no secret so expect to see other people. But still, any day is a good day on Juniper Springs.
Put in to reverse paddle: 29° 12.766’N, 81° 39.328’W