Friday, February 27, 2009

Wandering about...

It was time to leave the Everglades, so I took a few parting shots

and moved on. A brief stop in Jupiter, and it was on to Hillsborough River State Park. This was probably the prettiest of my stops to date, at least in terms of my mental image of Florida (dense vegetation, flowing rivers) but it did have one surprise - white water (rapids). They describe this spot as being Class II rapids. Well... maybe in Florida...

The river winds through the forest and provided some remarkable views as well as a hiking trail system that I could (mostly) use my bike upon.

After leaving Hillsborough River, it was on to the Ocala National Forest. I stayed at the Alexander Springs Recreational area. I finally needed to use my generator. The combination of heavy shade and no hookups meant that my solar panels could not keep up with the electrical demand.

The Springs come from limestone formations similar in formation and volume to the ones I saw in Missouri. Here, however, the water is 72 to 73 degrees. Had the days been warmer, I might have tried a bit of snorkeling, to see if I still could.

The trails in the Alexander Springs area were mostly foot-only, so I had limited access to them, but they took you through beautiful densely vegetated areas.

My campsite in Alexander Springs placed my right rear window right next to a bush. A pair of birds considered that bush their territory. They kept seeing their reflections in my window and for a whole week, they would look, fluff, peck at the glass, flutter against the glass, and in general try to chase away those intruders that matched their every move!

I left Ocala National Forest on February 26th and checked in at the Jetty Park campground at Cape Canaveral. I am right on the water

as this view from my back window shows. I expect to be here until March 14th. With the shuttle now scheduled to go on March 12th, and being about 12 miles away, I should have a good view. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Everglades – of Birds and Gators

I have spent the past week in the Everglades. As I had no internet access, updating my blog had to wait.
The Everglades are primarily grassland that is at or near water level. There is little elevation change.
Those areas that have been or have become higher form “hammocks”, or islands in the sea of grass that are more heavily vegetated.
On my second morning, I was up before the sun and took a short drive to a small pond. There, I found an incredible density of various water birds. They were untroubled by the presence of photographers like myself, and just went about their business as long as we weren’t too quick to move or too noisy.

It created an opportunity for some nice pics.

I was watching one bird in particular. It would freeze, and hold there without moving. Then, in an eyeblink, it would strike. and he has his breakfast - definitely a better fisherman than I.

Later in my stay I drove north to Big Cypress Preserve,
a wonderful gator habitat.

And now I think it is time for me to go.....