My parent's second home, and a place where I spent a good portion of my childhood?
Of course, as a child, I did not appreciate being whisked away from all of my friends and away from society on weekends. Away from cell phone signals. No I did not appreciate it at all.
Only now can I appreciate it.
In the small town of Ft. White, Florida, and even outside of those city limits, down winding dirt roads, and past several country neighbors, is the River House. It's often called the Lake house by people who have not experienced it-- and even those who have. But it's located on the Sante Fe River. Ten minutes by boat from the mouth of the Ichetucknee River which flows into it. The two conjoined rivers then flow into the Suwannee River, which then flows into the gulf.
The Sante Fe River is almost entirely spring fed, so the waters sparkle. As a matter of fact, we have a spring right next door. Beautifully chilly and sparkling waters bubble out of the earth. We drink it on occasion. How many people can say they have had water directly from the springs source? Not bottled. But cupped in their hands.
By boat we can access numerous springs along the river banks, and probably tons more that we don't even know exist. With the water table so low, who knows where the next one will spring up next?
The river floor is widely varying. It takes an experienced boat driver to navigate the river. Rock, shoals, and channels occur throughout the river. It is important to know where they are, lest one lose a prop. The river floor is full or gashes where boaters have made this mistake.
One of my favorite parts of boat rides in watching the river bottom as we glide over it. Many areas of the river it is possible to watch the fish, turtles, rocks, and snails fly past. In others, it drops of to an unknown depth where you lose sight and wonder what actual resides down there.
The river is full of Native Florida wildlife. So many people imagine dolphins and flamingos when they hear Florida wildlife. But it's so much more. This ecosystem is so underrated. It's full of manatees, turtles, alligators, fish, crayfish, and a variety of birds and snakes. Yes, even vultures.
The line markings on the trees indicate where the water level has been in the past. And don't be fooled. The water has been much higher than that.
The river is always changing.