Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Loxahatchee River Trip

Monday February 27, 2012
Don’t forget to MYMO


I was out running at 7AM but I didn’t beat the heat.

72 degrees, is usually too warm for me but thankfully there was a good breeze.  I did 4 miles while David went to a Quest Diagnostics in Stuart Florida to get his blood drawn for this week when, starting today, he is off all his meds.


When he came back, he felt like going out on the river so after lunch that’s just what we did.  We put in at the River campground boat ramp.


The Loxahatchee is a good sized river.

He sure is out in front


In the lower section it was lined with red mangroves.

mangrove architecture




I love the way the mangrove roots reach for the water.





Look at those mangrove TOES


These were particularly long and looked almost like they are putting a cage around themselves.

fencing me in or out??


I noticed this tree from the river side. 

It looks  like the land side tip toe tree from our walk yesterday but its toes are in the water this time.

cool pine tree




great roots





We paddled up past the park’s main boat dock and passed one of the tour boats coming back in.


River Store boat dock 


Guided River trip only $18 a person


It was about a 90 minute paddle up river to our destination, the Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site.  Lots of osprey nests on the way.


I spy an osprey nest


nobody home

Non guiided river trip, FREE


an even bigger nest


great design with flowing moss


he's a tall drink of water


Not the three bears or the three pigs or the three musketeers but the three turtles.  A family?  Doesn’t it look like baby, papa, mama?

opps we're sliding off the end


Are we lost??

As we were paddling longer and longer, we had some question about whether we had taken a wrong turn on this river with many turns and curves and island but then, just as we thought maybe we were lost, around one of them, we saw the site.


OK now where is it?


David pulled up on shore.

good parking spot


I chose to use Trapper’s rustic boat shed

nice looking garage

he must have had visitors 


Here it is from the land side.  Trapper used no power tools in the construction of his homestead.  Everything was done by hand and made out of the heart wood of the slash pine which is very resistant to insects and deterioration.


land side view


Trapper  was quite a character. 

6’4” tall and 240 pounds.  Here is some general information on him that was posted at the site.  There is more information on him in this wikipedia article if you are interested.  The mystery surrounding his death is worth a read.  Still controversial.


I hope  you can click to enlarge if your eye sight is like mine


a young Trapper





This picture is from from the Visitor’s Center.








We learned all this and more from Ray Cyrus a full time RVer who is the work camper living and at working at the Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site.  The light didn’t cooperate very well with my pictures of Ray.  But I think I’d love to have his job if he ever gives it up.  UNlikely  :-)


Ray Cyrus, the unwitting victim of back lighting


Ray was full of information about Trapper and his life and death.
He also told us that the park maintains these original buildings, they have not recreated them. They are just as they were when Trapper died in 1968.  Trapper certainly did a top notch job building them and any parts that need replacing are done by the park as exact duplicates of what he did, and done the same way.


Ray knows a LOT about Trapper



Here’s Trappers main house.

he built all of this himself


So what do I do with my gun??



Wonder if Maybe mosquito netting around the frame?




Would this bed suit a man 6’4” tall??





Interesting that the bedroom was the first room inside the door followed by this main room in the rear of the house.

table on one side


sink on the other


Site of the surprise



A Surprise in the chimney

was found some years after the state park acquired the site.

Don't you wonder who found it??


make it larger if you can't read it


what kinds of coins are these?

This is one side of the main building.  I liked the window shutters hinged at the top and open underneath the deeply overhung roof.  Good designs for a hot black water river area.

Very large building


If you came for a visit, invited of course, here is where you would stay.


overhanding roof makes it dark inside


every 20 years or so??



Wonder if this record was kept to encourage you not to stay too long?





Your bed.

this one's painted white



all the conveniences of town





This site could only be reached by boat but rapper had indoor plumbing.





Here is his water tower.  He pumped the water up by hand and then gravity fed it down to his buildings.  Ray told us that trapper had a boat that he would row 9 miles to town for dinner and eat a whole pie for dessert and then row back.  He would also pick up building materials there from demolished buildings or those damaged in floods or hurricanes and use the materials around the homestead.  This was the source for all the metal he used.

water tower


As he became more of a curiosity living out so far on his own, people began to seek out “Tarzan of the Loxahatchee” so Trapper, ever the entrepreneur, started a zoo with the animals he trapped and charged admission.



indoor plumbing for the zoo's guests


I thought he was a pretty cool guy setting himself up so well so far from civilization, but I’m not much for animals in cages or for selling raccoons or “wild cats” to anyone who wants to order one.
Ray said he had a contract with Sears but no one seems to know to provide what.  Ray wondered if it was coon skin caps. 


add comment here


As you can see above and below, the park service keeps the site exactly as it was down to all the firewood.

was this for outside cooking? I forgot to ask Ray.



not so much




Alligator Cages







there's a drain in the bottom


Hope you can see the inside where there is a shallow bath tub type thing that could be filled with water for the gators.  Some life for a gator.  How did they even move?




Not sure what these were used for.  Take Ray's tour, I'm sure he'll tell you.


No raccoons now 



Raccoon cages






like bobcats and panthers?  Oh no!!




“Wild Cat” cages






notice the jungle grass skirts






This wild animal was not in a cage.





I could have stayed much longer and listened to Ray tell tales but
the afternoon was getting away and we had a 90 minute paddle back

she got herself in


so did he



Don't you love black water Rivers?


I LOVE cyprus trees.

Isn’t this beautiful??

painted skirts 

painted skirts up close



And their knees too.

don't think anyone REALLY knows FOR SURE what these are for


The red color of the air plants in the trees caught our attention.

air plants don't hurt the trees

but they are interesting to look at

great coloring


bearded with moss and in garments green 

Look Ma no hands!



The Loxahatchee, as a designated wild and scenic river and located so close to such a dense urban area, is monitored quite closely.  The folks from USGS were there taking information.  My tax dollars at work doing something I am actually glad to pay for.

Thanks for protecting this river


The trip back was more tiring as the winds picked up and the river became rough.  

But we made it and were very glad we went.
If you go to Jonathan Dickinson don’t miss this even if you have to take the tourist boat to see it and hear Ray tell you all about it.  BUT they rent canoes and it’s a great paddle !!!

I thought the wind would be at our backs.

Off to Sebastian Inlet State Park Tomorrow.


  1. What a great tour! Really enjoyed reading about your day today, guys! David is doing great to get out and get some exercise.

  2. Hmm..so mangroves are individual trees? For some reason I thought they were groups of trees. I'm not sure I'd be up to the paddle back, but what an interesting stop you had along the way.

  3. Some people are just more independent than others. Interesting life he led.

  4. Sounds like a cool place to visit. I'm with you on not liking that the animals were caged.

  5. thanks for sharing Trapper's site we missed it when we were last at Dickinson...

  6. Another great day! really like those turtles....

  7. I read the article to learn more about Trapper Nelson. Interesting fellow. He had quite the appetite, didn't he?

  8. I hope the rest of your week is as enjoyable as today.
    Trapper was certainly an interesting fellow.

  9. Great Tour!! So good to see the two of you out doing what you love to do. Cool Mangrove toes and Cypress knees;o))

    We loved Sebastian Inlet area. We didn't have our kayak yet, so we will be interested to hear about any paddles you do. We stayed at a neat county park, Long Point (I think), where every site was on the water!!

    Safe Travels and Happy Trails...

  10. Fascinating read; thanks for taking us there.

  11. What a great post! Very interesting. I always say the early settlers of Florida were made of hardy stock. Thanks for taking us on this tour.

  12. Great post once again :) Lots of information and definitely top notch pictures. Never heard of Trapper Nelson - now I know!

  13. Thank you for this post. Fascinating character.

  14. I've been out of the loop lately and was delighted to see these beautiful pictures and read about the Trapper. He sounds like a character in a movie. Thanks, as always, for sharing!

  15. Terrific post! What a beautiful area and an interesting character.

    Wonder if Trapper Nelson served snake meals to his guests? Whatever he was eating, he sure looked fit and healthy.

  16. Great post; very interesting ready! Thanks for the information!

  17. The coins he was dropping in the slot in the chimney looked to me to be Liberty half dollars. They were common in circulation during the 50's.


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!