Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Kings Landing

Pam Schwartz and I took a trip up to Kings Landing (5722 Baptist Camp Rd, Apopka, FL 32712) to kayak and explore the Emerald Cut. There was a huge line of cars to get into Kelly Park, a swimming hole and springs right before the kayak launch site. Pam cut into the dirt side roads and avoided 3/4 of the line. Rick Kilby had loaned us his kayak which I used for the day.

Once at Kings Landing it was easy enough to drop off the kayaks and them Pam parked the truck on the roadside. She went inside to make arrangements and get a wrist band while I guarded the kayaks. I then went in and quickly got my wrist band. There were lots of folks renting kayaks and the launch was crowded. A narrow cut led to the river and since there were so many inexperienced people getting started we had to bide our time until we could navigate around them.

At the end of the entry to the river was a rope swing hanging from a tree with a crowd gathered to swing into the water. The first half of the day's trip was all up stream working our muscles, but once we reached the turn around point it was all down stream on the way back. We saw lots of turtles sunning themselves on logs with their hind legs spread out, webbed toes spread to catch the sun. There were also some sizable alligators patrolling the shores.

We stopped once in a shady spot so I could get a quick sketch as another couple passed us on the river. There were a few humble homes on the shores, but for the most part it felt like old Florida as it was over 100 years ago. There were spots where trees had been cut because they blocked the river, probably after falling during a hurricane. Hurricane Dorian swept past Orlando without making landfall. We were spared what could have been a devastating storm.

The four hour kayak trip ended at Wekiva Island where a huge crowd was swimming and sunning themselves. A bus and trailer brought us back to the launch point. If you are an experienced kayaker this is a fantastic weekend day trip. Once you get away from the crowds at the launch you can experience as much time as you want on the river. I highly recommend this if you want to experience Florida as it was long before theme parks.

Kayak/Canoe rentals are $30 for the day. Using your own kayak is $20, if you choose to have them pick you up at Wekiva Island and shuttle you back. During summer months, get there early (before 11), as they typically sell out. We considered driving up with two cars to avoid the shuttle but decided against it, paying a bit more for convenience. The shuttle bus isn't air conditioned so if you want luxury, think twice. Also bring or wear swimming trunks. I was scolded for only wearing shorts and my butt got quite wet.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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