February 2-8, 2020
|Cost||$1,584 Per Person Double Occupancy|
|Travel Dates||February 2-8, 2020|
|Description||Leave winter’s blast behind, grab your binoculars, and head to Central Florida for a week of serious birding, playful paddles, and a trip to the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. Our home base will be the cabins located at Blue Springs State Park–-the epicenter of coastal and Central Florida birding. Each day will include a short passenger-van drive to one of many aquatic habitats – swamps, bayous, estuaries, rivers and springs; the main activity will be birding, but we will also take time to kayak, hike, swim, and snorkel. Spare time at Blue Springs can be filled with a walk down to the boardwalk overlooking the warm waters, where over 200 manatees wintered last year; hiking; or reading in a rocking chair on the screen porch of your cabin, and the pace throughout will be relaxed enough for plenty of birding, sightseeing, nature walks, and just sitting back and reflecting. Enjoy a different birding experience every day and return each night to the comfort of your cabin, where the trip leaders prepare all your meals (smell them shrimp boiling). Kayaks ( 12 foot Neckys) are included, and beginners are welcome. For beginners, our guides will offer some individual instructions.
Our lodging consists of private cabins operated by the State Park system. Each cabin has central air/heat, fireplace, two bedrooms, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, screened-in porch, an outdoor grill and picnic table. Linens, pillows, blankets, towels and cooking and eating utensils are provided. One bedroom has a double bed and a set of bunk beds, the other bedroom has a double-bed. (Sorry, NO daily maid service).
Meals are prepared and served by your trip leaders. Kitchen clean up (dishes) will involve the entire group’s participation. Lunches will be made each morning and carried by individuals while on the water.
|Included||6 nights lodging, 6 breakfast, 5 lunches and 6 dinners. All ground transportation (to and from the Orlando airport), along with transportation during the trip. Van support transporting kayaks, kayaking gear, and riverside lunches. Kayaks (12 foot plastic Neckys), paddles, and PFDs two local guides/naturalists, gratuities for guides.|
|Not Included||Airfare to the Orlando airport, meals, lodging and transportation before and after the trip dates, lunch on day 1, lunch and dinner on day 7, personal items, such as bug dope, sunscreen, drybags/daypacks, raingear, and footwear. Trip insurance is not included in the trip price and is very strongly recommended.|
|Payment Policy||A deposit of $ 450 is due with the application forms to register for the trip. Must have at least 6 registered with the entire trip cost of $1,584 paid in full by November 1, 2019 for the trip to go.|
|Trip Insurance||It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list, if any, you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip.
YOU MUST BE A MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING OF ADKTO BE A PARTICIPANT ON AN ADK ADVENTURE TRAVEL TRIP. YOU CAN JOIN ADK ON LINE AT WWW.ADK.ORG.
TRIP PRICES AND ARRANGEMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND ADK’s CONTROL.
|Daily Itinerary||Day 1: Sunday, February 2: Once everyone arrives and gets settled in, the guides will go over introductions and the week’s agenda. After our first dinner together, everyone will be encouraged to walk the spring run and be introduced to the increasing manatee population at Blue Spring. For those folks who need to really stretch their legs, there are several miles of hiking trails that border swamps, scrub forest, and long grass/cane prairies. Blue Springs State Park:
Day 2: Monday, February 3: We are off to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the greatest place in Florida for birding and wildlife viewing. There is so much, it just seems too easy. You will find yourself scant feet away from rosette spoonbills, glossy ibis, reddish egrets, wood storks, bald eagles, and countless species of migrating ducks. After lunch we will visit the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. Be prepared.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge:
Day 3: Tuesday, February 4: We’ll begin with an early morning departure so we can visit the old sugar mill where we’ll make our own pancakes at our tables, and then swim off all the maple syrup in De Leon spring, proclaimed the fountain of youth by famous explorer Ponce de Leon. We can swim and snorkel until its magical powers reveal themselves. Paddling the surrounding National Wildlife Refuge will offer great views of the enormous wintering population of migratory birds.
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge/De Leon Springs:
Day 4: Wednesday, February 5 : A little bit longer of a drive today, however, the pay-off is huge. We begin by snorkeling and exploring a wonderful second magnitude spring. Afterwards we navigate our kayaks down the extremely narrow gin-clear waters snaking through the sub-tropical Juniper Springs National Wilderness area.
Day 5: Thursday, February 6: This morning we’ll pack our picnic lunches, grab our kayaks, and paddle the short distance north (downstream) a few miles to Hontoon Island S.P. This area of river is packed with manatee, otter, and sun worshipping gators. Overhead, bald eagles, ospreys, and red-shouldered hawks scan the water and marshes for their next meal. On and near the riverbanks parade large wading birds, coots, moorhens, and the occasional wild hog. Our destination is Hontoon Island, which has a wonderful nature trail that leads to an ancient Indian shell mound. The park is also famous for its large owl population and extensive Indian artifacts, including the state’s largest totem pole. We will spend a good part of the day hiking the island in search of birds and other wildlife. Once we return to our lodge anyone with enough energy can take the short shuttle with the trip leaders to the Lower Wekiva River State Preserve for a three hour paddle down the Wekiva River, past Blackwater Creek, and the confluence with the St. Johns River. This small stretch of river contains large concentrations of wildlife. For many this will be the highlight of the entire trip. Expect a huge dinner after this enormous day of activities.
Hontoon Island State Park:
Day 6: Friday, February 7: Today finds us at two very special places. Our first stop will be the Econlockhatchee River and the Little Big Econ Wilderness Area. We will paddle about 8 miles through a mysterious moss-covered cypress forest. This tightly winding river twists its way through sloughs, swamps, and prairies eventually becoming a widening lazy river. On our way we will encounter bald eagles, osprey, numerous hawks, swallow tail kites, otters, and of course the American alligator. Lunch and a swim await us at my favorite swim hole along the Florida National Scenic Trail. After a great paddle we will travel the short distance to the Orlando Wetlands Park which draws in birders from around the globe. After a few minutes on any of the hiking trails there you will know why.
Day 7: Saturday, February 8: Time to take that last stroll down to say goodbye to the manatees; there maybe time for a quick paddle on the river as the sun rises. Our van will leave for the airport by 11 a.m.
*Itinerary may vary based on weather and wildlife conditions; possible destinations include:
Rock Springs S.P
We will make every reasonable effort to meet the goals outlined in the itinerary. Please keep in mind that weather or other conditions beyond our control may cause us to modify the itinerary in order to ensure the safety and well being of the group.
|Level of Difficulty||There will be plenty of time to take pictures, spot birds, go snorkeling, observe wildlife, and just enjoy this subtropical paradise. On paddling days the distances will be short and leisurely with an emphasis on wildlife viewing not making miles. Snorkeling will be in deep clear springs that remain 72 degrees all year. Prior kayaking experience is not required, but you must have a positive attitude. You must be comfortable sitting in a kayak for anywhere from 2-4 hours at a given time. Be aware that biting insects, alligators and poisonous snakes all make this area home. Heavy rains could change the conditions / character of the river(s). This includes fast moving water, blowdowns and strainers. Since this is Florida, late afternoon rains and thunderstorms are always a possibility. These are not wide rivers, but should you dump, you must be a competent swimmer and comfortable floating in your pfd until someone can assist you. If there is any question regarding river safety, I will after consultation with our guide(s) make the appropriate determination. If I determine that conditions are not safe, we will decide on an alternate activity, such as a hike or visit to a local state park or similar. This could cause you to incur a cost not covered by the trip price.|
|Registration Procedure||Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact me if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact me (email or phone) and I will send you the registration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form. Complete these forms and send them to me by U.S, Postal Service with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the Credit Card Authorization) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.|
|Trip Leader||David Pisaneschi
180 South Main Avenue, Albany, NY 12208