Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey, FL

From Jan. 9 – 15 I stayed at Oscar Scherer State Park, which is known for their Scrub Jays.  The Florida Scrub Jay is on the decline and there are only about 30 Florida Scrub Jays in the park, just a few years ago there were more than 100.  While there I did a short walk trying to find one on my own, but I only saw regular Blue Jays.  I was concerned about joining the Scrub Tour because of my toe, but decided to anyway.  I let the leader know that if it started bothering me I would turn around.  Fortunately he knew where they were usually spotted and it was fairly close to the start of the Blue trail.  

The Jays are quite friendly and one of them walked around the 7 or 8 of us on the nature tour.  Walking on the soft sandy trail wasn’t too bad on my toe, but the next day I could tell I had over done it. So I went biking.  (by this time my little toe, the next toe and an inch or so down my foot were purple and/or red) The Legacy trail is another nice Rails to Trail trail and it goes through the park.  I rode it several times to Venice and beyond where it becomes another trail.    It is basically flat, thank goodness, with the only hills being a couple of bridges.

I am not good at hills and am a bit ashamed to say that the runner on the hill headed up to the bridge made it to the top before I did.  But I was trying to bike and take pictures at the same time!!  I beat him on the other side!!  Going downhill of course!!

One day, I went into town to run a few errands and ended up spending an hour or so at Venice Beach.

From Oscar Scherer I headed to Fort DeSoto County Park (Pinellas County). 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, FL

My plans for 2014 were changed a couple of times.  I finally settled on wintering in Florida and then going up to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota for the spring and summer.   Much of what I plan on doing will be repeats, with a few new places added in.

If you notice in the next few blogs, I drove down to Sarasota and then headed back north for a few other parks, then back south again.  Due to some parks being full, I had to do a bit of back tracking!!

Anyway, I am not taking as many photos so some of the blogs may be shorter than normal. 

In early January, I stayed at Myakka River State Park for a week.  I had planned on hiking and biking a lot.  I biked the first 2 days and did a bit of hiking.  One of the bridges is called alligator bridge for a good reason.  On sunny days, you will see many alligator (and other wildlife) from the safety of the bridge.  Below you can see 5 alligators along the river.  

From the bird watching boardwalk I saw deer, feral pigs, Sandhill Cranes, Palm Warblers, a Bald Eagle, gulls, ducks…  I also learned something!!  I always thought that Snipe Hunting was a practical joke.  Did you know there really are Snipes???  Below is a Snipe, I believe it is a Wilson’s Snipe--

Have you ever cooked oatmeal in the microwave and had it run out of the bowl?  It’s a mess to clean up.   While cooking my oatmeal on my fourth day at Myakka, I started doing something else and then remembered the oatmeal.  I ran to the microwave and hit my toe/foot on the bathroom door.  Well the oatmeal was ok, but my toe was not.  For an hour or 2 I was debating going to the hospital to determine if it was broken or just jammed as it had swollen quickly and hurt!!  After reading a bit on the internet, I decided to wait it out as there isn’t too much that can be done for a broken small toe.   For a couple of days I didn’t do too much, then  I had to head out to my next campsite.  Walking wasn’t too bad after the first couple of days, but it didn’t feel good!! For the most part, I have been wearing flip flops but I did find one pair of enclosed shoes that had a lot of stretch to them.  From Myakka River, I headed to Oscar Scherer State Park. 

Note – I am currently at Hillsborough River State Park and my toe is still not right but is improving slowly.   I talked to a retired nurse a couple of days ago and she said it sounded like a broken toe, but said that without an x-ray you really could not tell – I’m calling it a broken toe.  I am not hiking as much as I would like, but biking does not seem to bother it so I have been riding my bike a good bit when the weather behaves.  Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since I hit it.  Next time, I’ll just let the oatmeal run over the bowl!! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Skidaway Island State Park and Jekyll Island, GA

Well, I start off 2014 behind in my blogging, big surprise!!!  I am currently in Myakka River State Park, Fl (Sarasota), but need to finish Dec, 2013 in my blog. 

After leaving the shop in Auburn, GA, I headed to Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah, GA.   I was there Dec 6 – 14.  They have Water & Electric sites like many state parks, but they also some premium spots that are Full Hook-ups (they have sewer hookups along with water and electric). But those sites are $10.00 more. I decided to go with the cheaper spots as Georgia’s state parks aren’t that cheap. I paid $30.00 per night, but the campground was great!  I have noticed that many state parks have gone up in price.  The park has a few trails and a great campground.  I enjoyed several of the trails including the Big Ferry Trail, which is the only trail you can bike on.

It started off as a wide trail, but didn’t take too long to get much narrower.  But it was fun, even with all the roots in the trail.


On one part of the trail is an old still.  A nearby sign stated that from the early 1900’s up until the construction of the first bridge in the late 1960’s Skidaway was a hideout for moonshiners.  In the picture below, you can see the axe marks made when the still was destroyed by law officials.

skid_big_ferry_trail_still Also on the trail is a birdwatching tower.


I didn’t do too much in Savannah, but I did go to Bonaventure Cemetery and attended the Bonaventure Historical society walk.  One of the graves is Gracie Watson.  She was a young girl who died of pneumonia and supposedly her ghost wanders around the cemetery some nights.

It was a foggy dreary day, when I visited – just right for a cemetery visit.

My next stop was Jekyll Island.  While there I enjoyed biking and walking.  Most mornings, I walked a loop that included a quick stop at Driftwood Beach. 

When biking around the island, I stopped at St. Andrews Beach picnic area for a quick break. 

I also found a bench just next to one of the crossovers was a great rest area.  One day, while here I saw a ferret that had escaped from someone and watched him go into the ocean for a swim. 

I have always liked the pictures of big bridges that appear to be floating above fog.  While on a drive from Jekyll Island to Bainbridge, I saw this --

From Jekyll Island, I headed back to the North Georgia Mountains to spend Christmas week.  On the Friday after Christmas, we had our family get together. 

I wrote this about a week ago while at Myakka River, but I did not have a very good internet connection, so I am just now posting this blog.  I am currently at Fort DeSoto Park in Tierra Verde, FL!