Friday, May 24, 2024

"Manatee Springs State Park" Gorgeous!

 
I tried to think of a better word than 'gorgeous' but you'll have to help me there. 


If after you look at the photos, you can think of a more descriptive word, I'll use it in my next post.

I'll include a link HERE if you want to read more about this park. This is a first-magnitude spring that releases an astounding 100 million gallons of water daily!


We spent a week camping here and had such fun. 


There are a lot of hiking trails and the Springs were only about 1/2 mile away from our campsite so we went every day. 

It was nice going at different times of the day to see wildlife and birds. We did not see Manatees on this trip but we weren't disappointed in our sightings each day.


Deer walked through our campsite. A raccoon climbed the tree next to the picnic table and we got back one evening to see a pretty white cat waiting for us.


And the Springs are just gorgeous!


Ibis in the water

The first evening we walked down there we saw a Barred Owl fly into a tree nearby.


You all know that's one of my favorite sightings.


And then we saw him 3 nights in a row in the same area. 


I have about a hundred photos. 


Want to see them all?

OK....OK! 


How about this Little Blue Heron!


And here's a mosaic of the owl preening!


I'll share more photos of some of the hikes we took in days to come. Hope you'll come back to hike with me!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, May 17, 2024

"The Bridge to Nowhere" Old Town, Florida

 
We took a day trip to Old Town, Florida on one of our camping trips for a hike to the Suwannee River. 


And yes, we walked across the "Bridge to Nowhere".


It was a beautiful sunny morning but the trees along the path provided plenty of shade and this was my favorite photo of the day.


Of course hubby and I got into the picture with that beautiful background!


There's so much history on the internet that I will add some links if you want to learn more.


This one HERE told of the supply ship that brought lumber to build the bridge. They sunk the ship when the delivery was made. That seems so odd but you can see the sunken ship sometimes.


Another good article HERE.

We took our time and took photos from both sides of the bridge.


Of course the Suwannee River is a beautiful river and we had a quiet morning.


There were very few walkers and bikes and no boats on the river.


It sure gave us a peaceful time in nature.


There were a few houses and this one was right on the river.


Another house had a longhorn cow and a donkey.


We saw hummingbirds feeding on the trumpet vine too.


These were purple martins I think.


This sign was at a residence along the trail.

It's an out of the way place to visit.

Just what I love!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Hiking the Florida trails in early summer!

 
We are definitely feeling the heat and summertime humidity but it's still really nice deep in the woods.


Between camping trips, I head to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway and on this particular hike, I went down into the diggings.


It's cooler and extends my hike to closer to 2 hours but it has it's own rewards.


On this hike, I went to Josef's table. 

It's a table in the middle of the forest, dedicated to Josef who loved to hike.

I left a seashell from Canaveral National Seashore on the table the last time I visited and it was still there.


Something new was this beautiful little Chinese Zen planter.


It was on the large boulder next to the table.


The tiny plant was pretty too!


And behind the table someone had put together a ladder. It's a little big for the gnomes that live there so I'm not sure who uses it. Any guesses?


Always pretty wildflowers and this caterpillar was colorful!


I wanted to include photos of this duck that showed up in our flower bed this week too.



I think he stopped to take a break on the way to the neighborhood pond. 


I asked him, but he ignored me.


Now back to the hike deep in the forest to find the monsters!


You know I saw some! 

Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, May 3, 2024

Ross Prairie Forest "Holly Hammock Trail"


 I have so much to share but it's such beautiful weather for camping and hiking that I'm still not sitting at the computer as much. It will get HOT here in Florida soon and then I'll catch up. I guess! lol


This is right at the halfway point and you really have to look to see the turn. 


Sparkleberry bush

Link for the ID is HERE! And thank you so much to my blog buddy "Tom the backroads" for help with identifying it! These bushes are in full bloom and smell so sweet! 

We've camped at Ross Prairie State Forest Campground twice now and I hiked different trails both times. I did hike the Holly Hammock THREE times though because it's my favorite.


For locals, the trail is in the best shape I've ever seen it. And when you take the loop you come to a pond at the halfway point. The pond is full of water with lily pads in full bloom.


With the bonus of wetlands beyond the pond with so much to see. 


It took me about 2 hours to hike it because I spent 20 minutes at the pond taking photos. 


But it's an easy hike. Just watch out for roots and stumps in the trail. Lift your feet when you walk!


This is a popular trail and I've met a couple of hikers that leave little trinkets along the trail.


A dragon on the trail? 


They are fun to find.

When I say it's popular, I still only saw 1 other person hiking it on this 2 hour hike. I just wish more people got out to enjoy a nature walk. There are so many rewards.


Mourning Dove


And WHAT is this little critter?

Have you walked outside this week?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !