Sooooo on Sunday, Tim made the mistake of asking me what I wanted to do. And what I wanted to do, what I reallly really wanted to do more than anything that day, was go to Myakka River State Park to hike.
Because my husband loves me and because it was the first truly beautiful day after an exceptionally long summer, that is exactly what we did. It isn't that Tim doesn't like being outside, he really does. But he feels that he hiked enough in the Marine Corps to last a lifetime. Heh. Cannot blame him for that!
But we both really did have a great time and spent almost all day hiking various trails, admiring the quiet, slightly mysterious, wildlife abundant surrounding of Myakka. It is one of the oldest parks in Florida having been designated so in the 1930's and one of the largest too with over 37,000 acres! Even though we hiked for hours, we barely made a dent!
We didn't realize until we had been hiking for awhile, but Tim hadn't been to Myakka in about 15-20 years! In fact, I think the last time we visited, we still lived in Connecticut! Two moves ago! Wow! It hasn't changed very much to tell the truth or at least as much as we remember. There were still wonderful views of the river, and the river still floods during the rainy season making sure that everything is very very well watered. The photo above is where the water is finally receding after flooding explaining the non-green parts. Normally that just plain dirt part is verdantly green but since it's been underwater, not so much. It'll green up now that the sun is touching it again.
When we were at Myakka the previous time, all those years ago, we went canoeing. It was my first time in a canoe and I was so taken by the stillness of it all. Gliding through the water silently, not even disturbing the birds or the alligators....Alligators??? Yup, at one point, Tim very quietly leaned forward as we paddled along and whispered to me, "Don't freak out, but slowly look off to your right". I did with a little trepidation and there it was moving quietly alongside our canoe, a big freakin' alligator. I froze, because that is my go-to move when I don't know what else to do and the gator kept swimming and went off to wherever it is that gator's go when they aren't terrorizing innocent canoe paddlers. It was an amazing and slightly scary moment. I suppose I don't have to say that we did not canoe this time, only hiked.
There is just so much variety of everything in Myakka, even the waterways! As we hiked along different parts of the river we saw clear beautiful wide river, murky bogs and swamps, narrow creeks with wooden bridges crossing it and loads of wildlife. See water-related wildlife in the slideshow below:
We saw so many different kinds of wildlife in the waters there. This is just a sample. Water birds of course, so very many different kinds of birds, water bugs (they were so funny), a water moccasin snake (creepy!) which we kept our distance from and an alligator (the thing that looks like a log in the water is in all actuality a gator). Kept our distance from that too.
Then we changed gears and hiked in the more foresty area. We hike quietly. It feels wrong to be raucous in the forest. It's such a beautiful pristine place that even the sound of our footsteps was too much noise. It's the most reverent church on the planet really and we treat it that way. We took a lot of photos and gorgeous things but the most beautiful moment for me was coming around a corner and seeing a deer crossing the trail just ahead of us. We stopped moving and tried to stop breathing because we didn't want to frighten her. She looked up and saw us then must have realized that we weren't going to harm her because she just continued quietly on her way. It was amazing. I cannot begin to tell you how it feels to have a wild creature have some degree of trust in you. Even if it's just for that one brief moment.
Before we left for the day, we lost our minds and decided that we should climb the fire tower. It's way high. Really tall. Lots and lots of climbing. We are crazy. In the wise words of Tim Humphreys, Up Sucks. But the view is completely worth the trip.
I wish I had asked Tim to take a photo of me at the top of the tower because after we got back home I realized that the last time we made that climb, those 15-20 years ago, I was wearing the Exact Same Outfit, including the hat! LOLOL here's the photo from all those years ago. Same thing. Just imagine a some more wrinkles.
We started the day with donuts...a real treat....and ended it with Mexican food from our favourite local Mexican place and then had those terrific hikes in between.
What a perfect way to spend a day!
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.