My first fall living in the Greater Orlando area, a friend had drove me out to Kelly Park in Apopka, Florida. Unsure of the distance, the commute had seemed to take an eternity in the passenger seat from downtown. This weekend, I had decided to “Pay it forward” by inviting out another friend for a drift down the clear waters of Rock Springs.
Before hitting the road on this Sunday afternoon, I had called the front gate verifying park capacity. Luckily, even with a late start around noontime, foot traffic was light because of morning temperatures starting in the 60s. During the last two miles of the drive, we had pulled into a road side vendor renting inter-tubes. After picking up two for $3 cash a piece, we had headed for the park entrance.
After parking, my friend and I had walked about the perimeter of the springs and accompanying run. Entering at the spring head, I had started swimming against the current, raising my body temperature preparing for our trek. After a few minutes of swimming in place, I had hoisted myself above a split in the limestone overhang.
On re-entry, I had sat atop the inter-tube quickly passing under the first wooden boardwalk. Turning right into the first bend, the current was moving at a brisk pace. During this moment, the shade had gave way to the warming sunshine. An inch long, metallic looking, blue dragon fly had landed on my knee. Then, it had hovered, landed and flown away.
Passing the bulk of human activity on the second bend, we had reached the final stretch of water. At the third and final bend, the sounds of lapping water and crickets had communicated a calm serenity. Another dispersion of dragon flies had passed above the water. Now, that long drive years ago was small penance on this picturesque Florida day.
Kelly Park is located at:
400 E Kelly Park Road, Apopka, Florida 32712
Summer: 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.;
Winter: 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.;
Monday – Sunday
$3 per vehicle for 1-2 people; $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people
Kelly Park/Rock Springs (Orange County)