I visited Lithia Spring Park in Lithia, Florida in January 2021. I was searching online for places to write about for one of my father’s business projects. The information I had was very limited. I knew only that there was swimming and that the address was on Donnelly Road in Valrico.
This turned out to be very false. The address I had was for Lithia Springs Nature Preserve, a completely wild area of the Florida jungle with no maintained trails.
On the other side of Alafia River, about a mile or so away, was Lithia Springs Conservation Park at the end of Lithia Springs Road in Lithia. This is where the fun was hiding.
I walked around and looked at the canoe launch, playground, and picnic tables before finding the main spring. It was closed to swimming due to some virus from China they were unreasonably afraid of spreading. What’s next? Will we have to remain indoors forever just in case of lightning strikes? What was the real reason they had fenced off the spring? Could this be the spring of immortality? Did they want to keep all that immortality for themselves?
I could see the water bubbling up. I could see the greenish water flowing south out of the giant pool. I could see countless fish moving lazily. Unfortunately, I could not get close enough for my camera to see.
Moving along, I did come across this view of the green river and this small fish observation pool:
I imagined the first explorers to this area hacking their way through the jungle until coming across a river as green as the vegetation around it. It was beautiful. With all the vivid greens, blues, and whites and the fact that water seemed to bubble up from nowhere, this struck me as a magical place. The enormous torrents of pale moss hanging off the trees and swinging in the breeze contrasting the green leaves only seemed to confirm this. They reminded me of tinsel-draped Christmas trees. I half-expected gnomes to pop out of their holes and start singing.
The trail was caught between the Alafia River and a smaller stream that progressively got closer and closer until they merged. I ran along the banks of the Alafia and took several videos. Gone was any trace of green from the spring. It had been diluted and overwhelmed by tannins.
As I took my videos, I heard giggling behind me. Were these the singing gnomes? I turned, but could see no one from my vantage point.
All along the banks were tiny castles. Is this where the singing gnomes live?
Eventually the two streams merged and I had to go back to the trail to cross the bridge. Further along, the trail split a few times and I did not have time to explore the whole preserve. In at least one place, the trail terminated at a gate leading to CDD property. Beyond were mansions – homes of the grand kings of Lithia? Or homes of the singing gnomes?
Nearby were mounds of white sand scattered around. At first, I thought they were oversize anthills, but I found no holes and no ants. Was this where the singing gnomes lived?
I finally returned the way I came and saw nothing of interest. Here are some videos I took:
Points To Ponder:
“It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.” – Proverbs 25:2
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.