Quotes I like:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sleepless in St. Augustine

It seems that as we age, the amount of sleep we need or get seems to lessen.  I remember reading a Stephen King book, Insomnia, quite awhile back.  The main character in the book is a 70 year old man who sleeps less and less as time goes on.  I can relate.  I am becoming well acquainted with the early hours of the night.  A typical night for me now goes something like this:

                      9:00 pm       I fall asleep on the couch watching TV.  I awaken and decide
                                           to go to bed.  Often I can fall asleep fairly easily. Sometimes not.

                    12:00              I wake up throwing the covers off as I am burning hot.

                      1:30 am        Having woken up in an attempt to cool off, I am still
                                           trying to go back to sleep.  I attempt reading or perusing
                                           Pinterest online until I feel sleepy and can sometimes fall
                                           back asleep. Sometimes not.

                       3:00 am       I wake up cold and put the covers back on only to have various
                                           parts of my body realize I am awake and they demand my attention.
                                           The bladder wants a trip to the bathroom, my stomach decides it is
                                           either hungry or having a bout of heartburn or indigestion necessitating
                                           a trip to the kitchen or medicine cabinet.  Other parts decide to chime
                                           in with aches and pains. I make attempts to quiet all these bothersome

                       3:30 am       My dog, who is himself quite old now, decides to get in on the act
                                           and demands to be let out.  Ignoring this request is futile. He will
                                           increase his vocal demands to ongoing barking at full volume. While
                                           letting him out, I think about taking a sleep aid and decide its too late
                                           and I will wind up sleeping until noon and feel hung over when I do
                                           wake up.

                       4:00 am       Lying awake wondering random crazy stuff.  What is the meaning of
                                           life?  Who created the universe?  What was the combination of my
                                           locker in 8th grade?  Just what the hell is wrong with me? Ugh

                       5:00 am       I realize I am not sleeping and that this night will result in yet
                                           another "bad night".  I debate whether to just get up and do something
                                           as continuing to lie in bed seems pointless.

                       6:00 am       I notice that the quality of darkness in my bedroom has changed
                                           indicating the arrival of daylight. I have never been able to sleep
                                           when its light out.  Much like vampires, I need to be in my sleeping
                                           place and asleep while it is still dark.  Once daylight hits, that's it.

                        7:00 am      I drag myself out of bed for another tired day.

After several nights like this, I become so over tired I am like a 2 year old who has missed their nap; I am cranky and out of sorts.  But at least at this point I can drop off to sleep and stay that way for pretty much the entire night.  And please don't write me with suggestions for sleep. I think I have tried them all. Some occasionally work.  Although one of my sisters had a great experience a while back.  She needed some minor surgery and when I called to inquire as to how she was feeling, she replied, "Great! Best sleep I've had in years".  The doctors had used the same drug that was administered to Michael Jackson to help him sleep to put her under.  She slept very soundly for a long and much needed nap.
She decided that more surgery might be in order just to get some good sleep.  I may have to see what I need done. ha ha.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kayaking and Camping O'Leno State Park

My friend, Beverly, and I spent this past weekend kayaking and camping around O'Leno State Park. This is located near Gainesville, FL and provides for easy access to the Sante Fe River and its springs and tributaries.

We took the little camper which is very comfy and has all the comforts of home, well except tv, Although Bev brought the dish she was disappointed when no signal was available (too many trees)

We spent a chilly night on Friday but were warm with a space heater. I felt sorry for the people who were tent camping as it got down to 37 degrees that night!  Saturday morning Beverly made pancakes and bacon to feed some of the other kayakers who were on this same trip as they came by to warm up.

I layered on shirts and jackets as we headed out to the river as the morning temps were still only in the 40's.  The trip began by putting the kayaks in at a boat ramp near the top of the Sante Fe river. There were approximately 20 people in our group so this was no small endeavor.  Beverly took her dog Tex, a long hair doxie/papillion mix (you can see him in the photo above).  He is a good kayaker!
The plan was to paddle down the river for approximately 13.5 miles. This was my first time out this year and I think that was a little more than I would have liked, but along we went. Here is a map of our route:

The Sante Fe River is really beautiful but the water level was low due to lack of recent rain.  I got stuck on rocks a few times along the way.  We saw hundreds of turtles sunning themselves on logs.

There are many spring which feed into the river.  We paddled up into a few of them to check them out.  At Lily Springs, we were warned of a local oddity, "Naked Ed".

Naked Ed owns the land adjacent to Lily Springs and as a protest to development in the area, walks around naked. You can find more on Naked Ed in an on line search, we didn't find him on Saturday.

With such a large kayak group, I found it difficult to keep up with the pack and ended up at the back along with a few others.  The paddling was strenuous and my arms certainly noticed the work out.

We did stop for lunch along the river bank before venturing further and visiting Blue Spring.

As you can see, the water is an amazing clear, blue.  The spring bubbles out of the ground near the dive platform shown above.  It was a bit difficult paddling against the flow up into the spring, but worth the effort to see this beautiful water!  Blue Springs Park is a popular attraction and even on this early March day was fairly well attended by swimmers.  The water in the springs stays at about 72 degrees year round which attracts manatees who come in from the colder waters off the coast to stay warm.  We had recently had a warm spell and so no manatees were around.

Leaving Blue Spring was much easier as we floated down the current back to the river.

On the next leg of the trip we encountered some small rapids.  I easily traversed the first set, but got stuck on some rocks near the second and set and in getting off the rocks managed to get turned around in my kayak and ended up being swept backwards into the rapids.  Luckily it was a small set of water and I was quickly sent through.  I was also glad no one was around to see me do that!

We ended the day around 3:00 and were happy to get off the water and back to camp and hot showers. It had been a long day and we were both tired.  We ate dinner and were in bed around 8.

On Sunday, we headed out again, this time to kayak the Ichetucknee Springs.  This was a more leisurely trip, only a little over 3 miles.  The group was taking a longer route (10 miles) but we decided to take the shorter leg of the trip.  The Ichetucknee is another beautiful spring winding through a low land area bordered by cedar trees, palms and some lovely spider lily:
Here are photos of this trip: