Canoeing in the Ocala National Forest
by Nancy N.
Rhesus monkeys in the Ocala National Forest
This might not sound that great, but the most romantic thing my husband John and I ever did was go canoeing on the Silver River near Ocala, Florida.
We stayed at a friend's cabin in the forest, at Salt Springs, which was really beautiful. It's a pine forest with lots of deer, bears, all sorts of wildlife and beautiful birds.
One morning, we got up and went and rented a canoe, and went up the Silver River, all the way to Silver Springs Park.
It was absolutely gorgeous, and so romantic. We went early in the morning and there was no one else on the river yet. It was totally quiet and peaceful. No signs of civilization. I felt like I was in a prehistoric rain forest. John loved all the different birds we saw. We were blown away with how beautiful it all was, and then we saw the monkeys!
The story goes that in the 1930s someone brought a bunch of Rhesus monkeys to the park there to help with the tourism. The monkeys escaped and have stayed there for generations. When you go past on the river, the monkeys all come down there in a group, looking for food. We threw them some pretzels, which you're probably not supposed to do.
There was about 20 of them, babies hanging onto moms. It was soooooo cool! See the picture.
We also saw several big alligators sunning themselves on the banks, and hundreds of turtles.
Canoeing the Silver River and staying in the Ocala National Forest at Salt Springs was definitely the best vacation we ever had; the canoe trip was the MOST ROMANTIC!