Well these two are at it again.
Joy and I have been out hiking around and taking photographs. Somewhere, we found a list of all of the parks and preserves in the general vicinity and have decided to make it our mission to visit all of them. And as it turns out, there are WAY more of them than we ever realized. Holy Cats! We have been to quite a few and we've barely made a dent.
Some of them, like Oscar Scherer and Myakka are quite large and there are always new trails to follow in those parks so we can visit them over and over again and never follow the same path twice. Others are rather small and cute and once we have visited, we probably don't have to do it again. The rest fall into the "at least twice" category.
Late last week, we found a new one that had two different entrances. We arbitrarily chose one which turned out to be the equestrian entrance. A preserve for horses! How cool is that? We actually only saw two horses the entire time we were there which was a little disappointing, but we also met three very sweet, friendly dogs so that kind of made up for it. It was just a little 5+ mile trail but we got some great photos.
Just as a sidenote, the accidental selfie I took in the photo at the top of this page happened when I was trying to get a picture of that cute little toadstool. I accidentally hit the wrong button. I'm such a goober sometimes.
It was a breezy day that started out chilly enough that we were both wearing sweatshirts which eventually got tied around our middles as hiking definitely warms a body up! But while the grey skies actually made for some interesting photographic light, the breeze was a Pain in the Fanny trying to capture a non-blurry shot! Still, we both appreciate a good challenge!
At the end we voted to return another day and go in the other entrance to see what that side looks like!
So yesterday we returned. And as it turns out, that entrance has a kayak/canoe launch. Awesome. What we didn't realize was just how much water was involved. The water not only crossed the trail but it was running so hard it made a waterfall! We momentarily considered wading across to the continuation of the path on the other side but two things prevented it. Not cowardice! We've squelched our way through boggy/wet/swampy paths before! Nope, it was intelligence that stopped us. Two things: Multiple "beware the 'gator" signs and realization of just how hard and fast that water was running. Neither of us were in the mood to get swept over the falls yesterday.
We could see where the trail continued on the other side and it was just killing us that we couldn't get to it! ARGH! But! We will return another, dryer, day to try again. We aim to find out just exactly what is farther down that particular path.
Undeterred, we continued on. Next we went to a brand new place that had just opened. It was small, admittedly, and we probably won't ever need to return, but it was damned adorable with a few nice paths, pretty benches, a surprising number of flowers and clean bathrooms. There was also a lady walking her very large and fluffy cat on a leash. A shame I didn't get a picture of that! Even though we dawdled, it didn't take very long to have thoroughly visited that park. Still, we each got a few photos there that we liked. Here are a few of mine:
We weren't fully worn out yet, so we moved on. We had better luck at our third stop. It's a place we've both been many times before, The Rookery.
We have both visited multiple times in the past but it is different every visit. It's absolutely loaded with birds. That is the intent of it. With different birds throughout the day and seasons, it is a birders paradise. I understand that just before sunset every day a colony of bats fly out from there. I've never seen it, but I'm told it is ridiculously cool.
There is even a small island in a large pond filled with trees and the trees are filled with birds upon birds upon birds! My little phone camera isn't good enough to bother with any long distance shots but I found a few close up things. One of my favourites was of a bird called a Cormorant. It swims not on the water but in it so that just his neck and head are showing. Cracks me up every time because I immediately think of the Loch Ness Monster. I guess this is the Loch Venice Cormorant instead. HAH!
So while Joy got her usual number of amazing photos of various birds and turtles and everything else, I concentrated on smaller, closer up things (and one Loch Venice Cormorant):
By the time we finished up at the Rookery, we were both hungry and kind of pooped. Having absolutely more than fulfilled our requisite number of daily steps, we opted for veggie pizza and yet more yakketyyak. It was another successful photo safari!
I'm not sure what we will do when we actually do finish hiking every park and preserve on the list. Start over again? Find another list?
I guess we will figure it out then.
Meanwhile, if you ever happen to be out on a hike here this general area and are hoping to bump into this duo, this is how you will recognize us. By the back of our heads. That is pretty much anyone passing by us every sees. And if we are by the water, tread softly. Much like the wildlife around us, we startle easily and don't want to fall in the water. I don't mind getting wet but I wouldn't want to disturb a cranky alligator.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.