This other Eden, demi-paradise

Few know about them outside of the state, but some of the most beautiful places on earth are in North and North Central Florida. And I say this not just because I grew up there, but as someone who has traveled much of the world and knows it to be true.

Fern Hammock Springs, Ocala National Forest, Florida:

juniper

This photo in no way – not even minimally close, not even an iota – does the place justice. In person, it is heart-stoppingly beautiful.

I’ve been to a lot of springs in North Florida. Hundreds of them. First time I’ve ever been to this one, and when I turned the corner and saw it, I was gaping in awe.

The water is so clear that it looks what, maybe a few inches deep? Try 6-8 feet.

Even with the best medium format camera in the world with the ideal lighting, I couldn’t convey 1/1000 of what it’s like to turn the corner of the trail and see this before you in the forest. And sorry for the crappiness of the picture. I was using my little camera, in poor lighting for good photography.

If what I felt when I saw this spring is close to what people term a religious experience, I can understand how that could be addictive.

Most of these springs will be gone in my lifetime due to climate change and water extraction. Some are already dying.

If you want to see them, come now. Soon they will be no more.