Today is our last day at Hillsborough River so it’s our last chance to kayak the river. We’ve been so busy with 3 doctor appointments and 2 days at the RV show that Saturday is our only opportunity. Under other circumstances we would never kayak on Saturday, just too many people on the river. But, to come to Hillsborough and not get on the river is to miss the best this very nice park has to offer. So today it is Saturday or not.
Luckily the weather cooperates and gives us the warmest day in recent memory.
We put in at the campground just down from our site a dozen sites or so.
As we round the corner a good size gator is basking in the sun on the bank.
Here’s looking at you!
Is he giving me the eye??
The skies are a beautiful blue, the clouds puffy, the breeze light and the water calm. Simply perfect! After so many cold days, the reptiles are all out in the warm sunshine.
Further down stream, everybody seems to have a perch of their own. Turtle on the left. Anhinga on the right.
We pass under the closed suspension bridge on our way to the rapids. There is no sign of workers today either. But then this is Saturday.
On my right is the trail I took when I walked up to the rapids.
This gator looks like he’s giving the tree a hug.
Looks like nap time. Love those gator skin gloves.
We’re approaching the rapids when David spies the swamp lily on the bank.
This is as far as we can go without getting pushed back down stream. We’ve moved over away from the main water flow and can see them “sort of” up this smaller channel. The best view of the rapids is not from the boat.
We head Back down stream.
Another eagle eye spotting for David is this Scarlet Snake in a tree stump out in the water away from the bank. If I showed you the zoomed out picture, you’d never see him.
Cypress Trees with Character.
I guess the recent cold temperatures have brought out what fall color the river has. It looks beautiful reflected in the river.
David doesn’t see him the first time as the red shouldered hawk swoops across the river in front of me. But then amazingly he swoops back and lands down low inside a tree over the water. My vantage point is terrible since all my pictures have limbs and leaves in the way but David gets these great shots of him as he very cooperatively sits there with one of us on either size of the tree. I am seriously surprised that he does this. But what a thrill to see him so closely.
Because it’s a Saturday there have been more people on the river than usual and most of them are in canoes rented from the park. Of course aluminum canoes and folks who don’t canoe much mean that paddles are banged on the side and the conversations are raised above the noise. When we see a chance to go down this little inlet, even though it’s a dead end, we take it. And what a reward.
Not only is it quiet and beautiful but we sit and watch this limpkin finding his dinner for a very long time. He walks up the bank and into the water and pays no attention to us at all. But then we don’t paddle, we just sit and watch.
But time is up and we have to head back in order to have some time for packing up. We’ll be leaving Hillsborough River tomorrow.
It’s been a great afternoon on the water and if we look like happy paddlers, we really are!
And to top it off, we’re headed for Disney World tomorrow!
What wonderful life we are living!