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

Henry David Thoreau

Another Way to Get to Deep Hole

Friday January 30, 2015
Myakka River State Park
Sarasota Florida



We didn’t make it to Deep Hole on our fantastic paddle yesterday (check it out here),  but today we do.  Our mutual friends Jo Beth and Catherine join us and Bill and Nancy at 10:00 for a hike over to Deep Hole which, as you remember, is in the Wilderness area and requires special permits.     Bill went over at 8 am to get passes for the 6 of us and ferried us all over to the parking area in his truck.  The ranger thanked him for bringing only one vehicle.  It’s an amazing truck.  The 6 of us fit in without any squeezing at all.

Nancy, Jo Beth and I are bringing up the rear.  The other three fast travelers are ahead.   I zoom in to get this picture of them.  What a beautiful day as you can see.







One of the reasons we three are so far behind is that we have the cameras and keep stopping to take pictures.  But you would too if you saw this red shouldered hawk. 







After walking through the savannah, we know we are getting close when we come to the live oak lane.   I just love these beautiful trees and the canopies they make. 


At this point Nancy and I tell Jo Beth the tales of our past two trips to Deep Hole.  The first time we turned left, that seemed toward the water but we never found Deep Hole.  It was a very hot day and the walk down here had seemed much longer than today in cooler weather so we turned around and went back.  We had friends with us that day too.   The second time we four came, turned right this time and found Deep Hole.  Boy did we.  There were well over 50 gators.  Here’s the post on that trip.  Apparently some folks, not us, must have complained about this confusing fork because today there is a brown sign saying Deep Hole and pointing to the right.



What we find this time is very different from our last visit.  Then we were able to walk way out to the right of Nancy and Bill.  The lake was way down.   The gators had gathered.  So had all the birds.   Today Nancy is pointing that Deep Hole is way over there.   Things look wet and muddy.  Can we get there from here?




We’re all standing around thinking about what to do when David just starts out in the direction of Deep Hole.





When we see he doesn’t sink in up to his knees, like kids following the pied piper, we trail along behind him. 





Here is what a cowboy birder and his gals look like.





What are they all looking at?   The much smaller pile of alligators and the birds that have gathered this year at Deep Hole.




A male and female anhinga decorate this winter tree.  There is actually a nice variety of birds here.




Alligators of all sizes.



We get great looks at this immature bald eagle.





Don’t know if this is the same eagle soaring overhead or not but it's always exciting to see them.



Tricolored heron looks smart wading among the green.



Not sure if this is a committee meeting of cormorants or a family gathering.


A lone black necked stilt





A great egret with a snowy egret to his left



Usually we see spoonbills in flocks.  This one is all alone and apparently shy or just totally uninterested in us. You can barely see his eye to the left.


Yesterday on our paddle, I saw a lesser yellow legs at the other end of this same lake.  Today I’m pretty sure this is a greater yellow legs.   I love the way he looks on the rippled surface of the water.



Here are two folks we wish we weren’t seeing.  These are the feral pigs which are causing such terrible destruction to the park’s environment.  They don’t belong here but their breeding rate is so prolific that the efforts to eradicate them unfortunately can’t keep up.


The group heads back into the trees in search of a limpkin Nancy has seen.  But what Bill sees is the perfect log for a lunch bench.  Catherine seconds the motion.




On the way in, at my feet are these darling little flowers blooming.   I think there may not be a time in this place where there is not something blooming. 





Turns out it’s not a log at all.  It’s a live palm tree that has apparently been blown over and refused to die.  Reaching its roots down further into the ground,  its top, at the other end, aims for the sun.  An amazing will to survive.



After the picnic, we head back up the trail.   Catherine and Jo Beth have stopped by Yoders on their way here and brought a home made cherry pie to share.   These are definitely the folks you want to invite to do things with you.  Catherine cuts but turns the serving over to David.





We all pronounce it DE – licious!  The perfect way to end an afternoon of fun.


Nancy gets the lucky star.  With her charmed life, it’s no wonder!



She points out one of the pair of female painted buntings she has seen at her site these past few days.  She even takes my camera and gets this great shot.  Really fine job Nancy thanks.



Last thing of the day is when Jo Beth, David and Bill install a newly received part onto Bill’s new truck.  He’s a happy camper now.




We had a wonderful time today with our 4 friends and only wish they all could have come back with us to enjoy this sunset over the prairie behind our rig.   Perfect ending to a wonderful day!



  1. oh my goodness. . .that was just fabulous! Is this the Deep Hole that everyone speaks of as being the place you must hike to when you are in Florida? I have pasted the link to this blog on my spreadsheet for further perusal when we arrive there next spring. . .just wonderful!

  2. Fabulous day--- Gators and spoonbills and good friends. Gonna do the Deep Hole hike soon!

  3. what a super day with all the wildlife sightings. Then to top it off with a pie? Can't beat that.

  4. Now that was a perfect day...gators, roseate spoonbill, pigs, cherry pie, friends, and a gorgeous sunset:) Doesn't get much better:)

  5. I so love your life and travels. How fun to hike with friends. And so many birds, every day! Plus pie and a gorgeous sunset. Life is Good!

  6. The sunset is beautiful beyond words. It's a shame about the feral hogs. There ought to be something that can be done about them.

    I've never been very good at identifying birds, and I'd be hopeless now that my eyesight is getting worse. But I've decided I'm going to keep my "Birds of North America" near my computer and look each one up as you (and Judy) post photos. Maybe that will fix them in my mind a little better.

  7. What a fabulous day you all had! Beautiful sightings of all the different birds and alligators.

    And a great end to the day with the cherry cake and colourful sunset!


  8. Quite a remarkable way to spend the day!

  9. A wonderful day with friends. Good thing David was there to blaze the trail!! Went back a couple times trying to pick a favorite (because I'm retired and have time to do important things like that) and failed. Just too many great ones. The stilt is adorable and the yellow legs looks like a beautiful wood carving - they would have to be at the top. Pie is a great ending to any day, and perfect for wrapping up this wonderful hike with friends.

  10. I love your trips with friends - great sightings yet again - so many birds and gators (although way less than last time, that's for sure). Great pictures! So nice to share it all with fellow travelers :) And, with cherry pie and sunset to top it off - that's a top notch day!

  11. Thanks so much for a wonderful post about our very FUN day!! We just never know what Mother Nature will show us each time we hike, but she sure gave us a beautiful day today. Hiking with friends really made it really special :o))

  12. I remember your hike to Deep Hole last year -- that enormous pile of alligators was terrifying! I liked your hike better this year. :-) That sunset shot is gorgeous!

  13. Loved the wonderful bird pictures. You amaze me.

    I thought you had gone to the abandoned classified rocket silo, when I read your title.

  14. Lovely hike. Love the shot of the red shouldered hawk...finally get to see its red shoulder. I have never managed to see the coloring before. Thank you!

  15. Sometimes I don't know what a great day I have had until I look back at your blog and see the whole of it lined up - yet another pretty fine day in paradise!

  16. Such bountiful wildlife, I am envious!

  17. Mmmm - cherry pie - my favorite. I read about two divers who went down into Deep Hole in 2012. The bottom is packed with fish that decay very slowly because the water is so cold and deoxygenated. Apparently the fish get trapped there when the river is high enough for fish to swim from the river into the hole and either die or get eaten by alligators. Visibility is only about 18 inches near the bottom. Makes it an ideal feeding trough for alligators. As always, great pictures.

  18. Be careful of those "logs" you sit on in Florida...you just never know.

    Now I'm hungry for cherry pie.

  19. Good for David to forge the trail to Deep Hole. I wouldn't have wanted to get stuck in the muck either :) Love the ending picture of the sunset!

  20. A great hike with a perfect ending...cherry pie! You certainly know how to have a great time. :c)

  21. A hike and a pie, what a great pair! Be careful with those logs, those might bite you especially if you are in Florida.
    That last sunset is the bomb!


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