Trip Report: Blue Springs State Park Part 1

I have long admired the format of a trip report blog, but have been using Facebook as the destination for all of my trip pictures. The problem is that Facebook doesn't allow anyone outside of my friends to find my pictures. It is a small goal of mine to increase traffic to this webpage and putting my photos on this blog is a decent step in that direction. The format of these trip reports are a work in progress, so any feedback and insight will be much appreciated!

Blue Springs State Park

It is easy to take for granted the natural beauty of your home state. Making a slight modification to common wisdom, I would say familiarity breeds contentedness. I have lived in Florida since I was ten years old and over those years I have grown a distaste for palmetto bushes, pine trees, and sandy soils. Living in northern Florida increased my appreciation for the central Florida beach and swamp landscapes, but it took spending two years in Chicago to full appreciate the unique beauty that Florida has to offer. I'll never forget flying back home after a hard Chicago winter and walking out of the airport into the sun and seeing a landscape of green grass and palm trees. It was like seeing it for the first time.

Flying into snowy Chicago O'Hare Airport on January 6th, 2014. The wind chill was -45, the coldest day of my life!
One of the great beauties of Florida are the natural springs that dot the entire state. While living in Tallahassee, I grew to love tubing down Itchetcuknee Springs. Since then, I've tried to visit as many springs as I can. When the question of what to do for Mother's Day came up, it seemed like a natural choice to bring my nature loving mother to a state park. We chose to visit Blue Springs State Park, the nearest natural spring to Viera, FL The following is a photo  trip report of our family's trip to Blue Springs. I hope that you enjoy it.

We started the morning out with some breakfast at Bagel World.
My sister and my mother
Jesse and I awaiting our breakfast sandwiches 
We arrived a bit after 9am in order to beat the crowds later in the day
Time to enjoy the park!
Our fist task was to grab a prime picnic table for later in the day. Gigantic oak trees provided plenty of shade.
Kayaks, Canoes, and Segway rentals are all managed from this little building at the far end of the park
We started the morning with a nice one hour canoe trip
Blue Springs feeds into branches of the St. Johns River
My sister and brother in-law are experts at canoeing
We met up for a quick group shot before exploring the river system
We are off! The initial leg of the journey was against the current
Even with rigorous paddling, we weren't going to create much of a wake
The views from the canoe were incredible!
Hey mom, what do you think of the scenery?
These signs matched up with a map provided by the rental facility to guide us on our route
We spotted a few gators along the way
Although a Florida Gators fan, my sister wanted to steer clear of these gators
Halfway through our trip we turned around and were able to relax a bit and get the benefit of the current
Another incredible view
A canoe selfie before we finished our journey