On June 24th we departed Sanibel headed for Wekiwa Springs State Park. Forgive this digression, but a matter of local historical and linguistic importance rests on whether you use the spelling and associated pronunciation “Wekiwa” (ending in “wa”) or Wekiva” (ending in “va.”) I believe I addressed this issue briefly in a previous post (which I can not yet locate,) but have since delved into it a bit more. While this seems like a small matter, consider:
- The state park and the springs are officially called Wekiwa Springs State Park.
- The river fed by the springs is officially the Wekiva River.
- Most, though not all, of the surrounding residential neighborhoods and businesses, if they incorporate the name at all, utilize the “Wekiva” form.
- The road passing along the state park is officially Wekiva Springs Road…
- … until it leaves Seminole County and enters Orange County, whereupon it becomes Wekiwa Springs Road.
This is insanity. Petty, minor, and for most people irrelevant insanity, but insanity none the less. So what’s the cause of this confusion? I have run across two explanations: first, that the Native American Creek name for spring is “Wekiwa” but the Creek name for a river fed from a spring is Wekiva, and early white explorers attempted to meet proper spellings, but no one told the road and neighborhood naming committees of the nuanced difference. One part of this is true: the Creek name for spring is, apparently, Wekiwa, but the rest is pure fiction, having been linguistically (there is no “v” sound in Creek) and historically debunked.
Apparently the real story is one of bad translation due to a soft pronunciation of the second “w” in Wekiwa, leading to a century of dueling spelling preferences that eventually divided at the county line. You can read more about it in this fun and informative Orlando Sentinel article. Many thanks to Jim Toner and staff for sorting this out 21 years ago. I will attempt to use the officially designated spelling for the spring, river, businesses, neighborhoods, etc, but I grew up in Seminole County, so I may occasionally default to “Wekiva” when “Wekiwa” is the proper spelling. Mea culpa.
Anyway, we headed towards Central Florida, with a slowly increasing sense of urgency to get out of Florida. The states multi-phased reopening plan had commenced in early May (phase 1) and expanded in early June (phase 2.) If you care to examine the COVID data for Florida, especially daily new cases, you will see a statistically significant move upward in the first week of June, which accelerated by the second week. Since the virus has a lag time for exposure, symptoms, and next generation exposure, this is exactly what epidemiologists feared would happen. If your morbid curiosity induces you to look even deeper, the daily new death stats paint an even clearer picture: lagging, as you would expect, about a month behind actual new cases, they began a distinct upward trend in early July. What fun.
Exhausted from all the COVID talk? I get you, but it has rather dominated everything these days, and that obviously includes our RV plans. Accordingly, when I read these 2020 blog entries years from now, I want to know the driving factors behind the decisions we made, and COVID is a big part of that. Anyway, moving on.
We did not do a lot of fun camping and spring related activities this Wekiwa visit, just a few short strolls down the marked paths and what not. Son Jackson was able to make an evening visit with us, which we were all comfortable with given our isolation in Sanibel and his careful distancing in preparation for beginning his Physician Assistant program this month.
We had three days at Wekiwa Springs, with a one day gap before our next stay near Gainesville at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park. Unfortunately, the day we needed was a Saturday, the hardest to secure at our popular preferences, especially on short notice. While casting about for an overnight spot at various state and even a couple of private resorts along our route, we found a last minute cancellation at one of our favorite spots: Trimble County Park near Mount Dora.
Not only is it at one of our faves, but the individual site, #13, is our favorite in the small park, being lake side and with no neighbor on the right (living) side of the spot. We made the best of our one day and night there, particularly the reliable wild life sightings we always see. This time herons and the small gator that frequents this end of Lake Beauchamp made appearances.
And that’s all for Central Florida. Next up, a return to Gilchrist Blue Springs and a visit with cousins during our final days in Florida, at least until we return… someday.
6 thoughts on “Working Our Way Out of Florida: Wekiwa Springs & Trimble Park”
You make a good point about reading blog posts years later. While it seems we’ll never forget, hope springs eternal, and someday we will need to be reminded of the context of these times. Safe travels!
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