As I continued my trip, I started to realize just how many lakes there are in Florida! Actually I was now camping next to many of them. Again you will see in this episode the curiosity, help and befriending I got from the residents of Florida
I left the Atlantic Coast Line tracks and took a south-bound road out of what was left of Paole…..
My map informed me that by turning east here and then taking the next road south, the town of Lake Mary would be ahead. Hopefully I would find some place there to resupply…….
I turned onto the next road. Lake Mary was a great little community. It had two stores, two filling stations, a post office and a Laundromat. As I was buying some food at an open market, I met a boy called Butch and a couple of his friends. They asked me what I was doing and said if I wanted to camp at Lake Mary they would show me a great place on the lake.
They said that there were at least four or five lakes around Lake Mary and that it was a very nice area. While we are talking about lakes, I noticed that anyone looking at maps of Florida could see that it is blessed with a surplus of lakes.* In fact, Florida has thousands of lakes. Approximately 7,800 of these are Natural Lakes of at least one acre. These lakes were formed by the limestone under the ground dissolving. This happened because the water above the limestone had an acid content. These Natural Lakes depend upon the ground water. There are usually no streams coming into or out of them. Some may be filled from underground springs. These lakes are mostly less than 45 feet deep. Even though these lakes are mostly permanent, very dry times will affect their water level. Some lakes are as old as 8,000 years. There are even a couple that are over 30,000 years old.
I set up camp near the lake. It was all nice white sand. I could see by my map that there were a lot of lakes in this area. Butch and one of his buddies came by in the evening and we sat around a small campfire and talked late into the evening. They were both in their early twenties and seemed like good country boys. They lived at home and did odd jobs to put together some funds either to go to college or trade school or just to find a permanent job. They had a lot of questions about my travels.
I had a good sleep that night, and the morning burst forth with a beautiful red sky and a mist rolling across the lake. Butch came by about 7:45 in the morning. It seemed he was the guy with the car. We said our good-byes, as he had to get to work. I then took the opportunity to sketch the lake. While I was doing that, two boys went out with a small motorboat leaving a faint wake and a hint of oil smoke. As I was leaving, I asked a man and a boy if they could spare any water and they appeared more than happy to oblige. I had good memories of Lake Mary. I reminisced as I continued on.