Editor's note: After rain on Saturday night and Sunday morning water began to fill in the canyon at Porter Sink on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning, water had returned to portions of the sink. More rain is expected on Tuesday, which increase the muddy conditions in the area.
On Saturday, Dec. 18, Lake Jackson at Porter Sink and the whole canyon leading to it were exposed again, just in time for holiday visitors to enjoy the spectacle.
The scenery, with winter skies and silvery beams of light falling on dry vegetation glowing gold, orange red and brown, is even more dramatic than in the lush green summer when the sinkhole was last exposed.
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The present cycle started on Dec. 5 and it is the third time this year one has been able to witness the sight of water cascading and roaring down the deep canyon into the sinkhole. A special connection with this natural hydrogeological phenomenon is palpable.
After the first two summer episodes in June and July, Tropical Storm Fred dumped enough water in mid-August to cover the sinkhole again and somewhat reconnect the various lake basins.
With no further sizeable precipitation, continued evaporation and presumably unabated draining, it was only a matter of time before the water level dropped enough for the draining to become visible again.
So take the grandkids, your in-laws, take your friends and pets. Bring mud-friendly shoes and binoculars (wading birds are plentiful), and remember to pay attention to the posted warnings and muddy conditions.
Enjoy this amazing spectacle of nature while you can, because one never knows when Okeeheepkee or the “disappearing waters” of Lake Jackson will reappear.
To go: drive to the end of Faulk Drive (off Highway 27/North Monroe). You will see a county sign at the end of the road. Park in the designated spots or along the side of the road.
Then walk past the barricades and yellow gate towards the lake and follow the long trail near the lake edge all the way to the sinkhole. There are signs along the way to guide you and keep you safe.
Sophie Wacongne-Speer is vice president of Friends of Lake Jackson. Visit friendsoflakejackson.org.
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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Lake Jackson drains at Porter Sink, begins to fill after weekend rain