the moon over wekiwa springsI wasn’t planning on writing about Wekiwa Springs because a) I’m only spending one night here, mostly so that I could dump the tanks, and b) I’ve been here before, years ago, so I figured it would be familiar, nothing much to say about it.

On the tanks, for future reference for myself, ten days without dumping worked okay, largely because I avoided washing dishes or taking a shower in the van, but I was starting to get occasional whiffs of latrine. Seven days, as long as I shower elsewhere and am cautious with dishwater, is no problem at all.

On the familiarity, ha. I have been here before, years ago, and I have reasonably clear memories of it. My parents camped here with their motor home and R & I came and spent time in the campground with them. We swam in the springs, cooked on the grill, ate dinner outside at the picnic table. I remember it as scrub pine forest with sparse trees and sandy ground covered in brown pine needles. Somewhat desolate and barren — nice enough, but very different from the lush green vegetation around the springs.

Duh. It had recently burned back then. The landscape along the road was still blackened with dead plants and ashes. Fast forward a decade or so and it’s all lush and green and beautiful. But walking along the road this morning I kept being struck by the clear demarkations between one type of green and the next, as if the universe had drawn sharp lines between one terrain and another, instead of letting them smoothly blend together. It wasn’t the universe acting capriciously, though, it was fire — a long-ago fire, now.

That said, in other ways, it’s still much like I remembered. Sitting outside the camper, enjoying the breeze, the loudest sound I hear are some crows yelling at one another, but the second loudest and far more continuous is the traffic. From where I’m sitting, I can see the trucks passing by on the road. And when I got here yesterday afternoon, the park itself was closed due to overcrowding. The springs are a popular destination. Deservedly so — they’re a great place to swim, with water that’s refreshingly cold in Florida’s heat. But it’s the kind of park that you will be enjoying with lots of other people.

The campground, though, isn’t a parking lot. There’s lots of room & lots of vegetation between sites. Sure there are plenty of people here, but it still feels peaceful. If the weather wasn’t so hot — it’s supposed to be in the 90s by the weekend — I could see being perfectly happy to settle in here for the next few weeks. I saw wild turkeys this morning while walking Zelda, and I bet if I stayed long enough we might see a black bear. The warnings about them are prominent and I’m guessing one might have gotten into a nearby dumpster last night, based on the morning’s scattered trash, which looked a little too widely scattered to be raccoon mess.

I was disappointed with the results of my morning’s photo efforts, though. My dad thought I ought to be getting a camera instead of a zoom lens for my phone and now that I’ve had a chance to play with the zoom lens, I’m thinking he was probably right. (You were right, Dad!) The lens is part of this set: CamKix 9 Piece Camera Lens Kit for iPhone 5. (That is an affiliate link, so if you buy it from that link, something like $1 of your purchase price will come to me. On the other hand, you’re probably not going to buy it after I keep writing about it, so don’t worry that I’m getting rich. :))

The zoom lens is very nice if you have lots of time to set up your shot, use the tripod, can focus evenly, and don’t mind using the case that the lens attaches to, which both prevents you from using other cases and doesn’t look like it would offer any protection at all to your phone. All of my photos this morning came out so unusably blurry that I just threw them away as soon as I had a chance to look at them, even the ones of the wild turkeys. The photo at the top of the post was actually taken without the zoom lens.

And before I left for our walk this morning, I had to take off my phone’s case and put the phone into the lens case. The chance that I am actually going to remember and be willing to do that at 6:30 most mornings is… nonexistent, really. I’d be far more likely to remember to hang a camera around my neck.

Of course, the lens was a lot less expensive than a good camera would be and it is fun to play with. But unless I turn into the kind of person who wants to carry around a mini-tripod and patiently set up for long-distance photos, I suspect it’s mostly going to sit in its box. It’s just not convenient enough to work for me. If it came with a better case, one with some cushioning to protect my phone when I drop it and a cover for the screen, I’d probably get much more use out of it. As it is, I suspect mostly I will use it to try to take pictures of birds right outside Serenity’s windows. And that will be fun, but it wasn’t what I was imagining.

Bah, somehow it is almost 10AM and I have to get moving. My one morning at Wekiwa is rapidly slipping away from me! I’m still trying to figure out my next plans, but I am also determined to get some words written on Grace this week. Fortunately, I’m going to spend the next couple of nights parked in a writing friend’s driveway and I know she’ll encourage me!