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Rainbow Springs, Florida

Rainbow River (or “Blue Run”)

Water Clarity – 10

Natural Quality – 8+

Perception – weekday!!

easy paddle, highly recommended for family

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(hasty post, will return and complete)

Hey, this place can get busy.

A few months back while visiting my Uncle I rode over to Rainbow Springs, I had full intention of paddling Rainbow.  With two places in mind it was one of those ‘water’s edge’ calls, and what I found on arrival was a crowd.  It was July and the place was so full of people that my ‘call’ (whether I would paddle or not) was from an overload parking area at KP Hole – instead of at the ‘waters edge.’ I mean, I can stand a few flimsy bathing suits – but on that day, there were just too many doggone people between me and the water.

So on that date I rode over and paddled a section of Withlacoochee instead.

(VGPS – 18185 SW 94th Street., Dunnellon, FL)

Today’s a new day, I have new reasons to be here, and its a weekday (less folks).  I’ve been watching for an RV the past couple of years and finally found me a ‘mobile-crib’ in Ohio last month.  I mean why the heck not?  Gas is still below ten bucks a gallon, its a familiar space to default to, home to a consistent cup of coffee in the morning, and I can shower, sleep, and crap like a human instead of a bear.  It’s good ‘space’ to even write some,  life at 60, right…think I’ll call er ‘little Bessie.’

I’m filling a void between a cousins funeral (Ronald O. Denmark of Orlando) at Bushnell National Cemetery and a trip to Delaware.  I find that Rainbow Springs has a campground too, rv hookups and all – close to water’s edge.  At 32 bucks its a cheap landing –  a fair price.

They have hot showers and you can rent a canoe or kayak if you need – or, you can use their senior improvised dolly’s to roll your own down to the water….. which I did.

I wouldn’t really set up camp because it would be an early out tomorrow for Bushnell, so I just threw out the rug as close to the water as I could get – still it was a short walk (@2 tenths of a mile).

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The first thing I noticed was an Eagle, a large male with white head – while in awe and to my surprise another male came and landed beside it, now this was really cool to see two hanging out so close.  But then too it made me wonder, ‘Rainbow‘ Springs???

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There were other paddlers out too

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The waters were awesome, few folks, crystal clear waters – and the critters seemed almost people-friendly…..I guess with all that summer traffic…..

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There were some homes along the way, and a sign at the headwater entrance that defined the swimming rules therein..

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Quality alot like the awesome Silver River of Ocala

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at the headwaters I couldn’t find the ‘mouth’ of this beast – like the one at Silver River/Springs, but there were humans in the limited swimming area making lots of people noise…

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From the state park ramp it was an easy paddle up to the headwaters, I wouldn’t think much more than a mile – from there its possible to pretty much drift and let the thoughts flow while headed back – no hurry here.  The overcast skies on this day helped too – for a while I was stretched out, feet-up..and really close to a floating nap. It was all pretty much a ‘free-ride’ back.

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Its tough with no schedule.  But what an awesome place it would be to live around this quality of water – I’m completely jealous of the homes and spring water setting…..

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For entertainment, I stopped and watched these guys working on this dock – sure, while sitting there drinking my favorite beverage I added my 2-cents worth to their effort, no charge.

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But then back to my work station…….

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All the way to KP Hole Park, its really not that far and the campground is in a great place between.

The Rainbow river continues its flow into the Withlacoochee a few miles down. On others dates I have continued further down the Rainbow about three miles.  Two hours of float time will get you to a bar named Swampy’s where you can stop to eat. If you prefer not to paddle back, the little outfitters next to it will shuttle you back to the park.

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I like the mile further to the Blue Gator restaurant on the Withlacoochee at Hwy 41. cold beverage and land-food – pull out just before the Blue Gator where the kayaks are; Rainbow River outfitters – they too will shuttle you back to the park (without reservation) 10 or 15 bucks I think.

All the way  to the Gulf wouldn’t be a bad paddle either – but not this trip I’ll think about it.

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Suggestion; Get three nights at the State Park (at least two) First day – paddle to the head waters and enjoy the ‘free-ride’ back to the Park.  Second day, go downriver to the Blue Gator – shuttle back……

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The place was just great and it was all so simple – I like simple.

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I wouldn’t quite put it in the ‘eye-candy’ category – but with a birthday tomorrow, it was as close as I was going to get

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And sure, I swam – the water was perfect.  Most of the spring water in Florida comes out at a constant 68 or 72 degrees – this wasn’t far off – clean – comfortable, wet – and calibrated.

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First day back to the landing with plenty of time left.  The overall paddle could be completed in three hours or less, kids would probably love it with all the fish and turtles there are to see – I did see one @ 4-foot gator.

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I really did take my time – the five hours on the water was well worth the simple effort – recommend a weekday visit.  Now, to find a drawer for traveller…..

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