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

Henry David Thoreau

The View from the River

Saturday January 16, 2016                                                                                 Most Recent Posts:
Hillsborough River State Park                                                                             Tampa RV Super Show
Thonotosassa, Florida                                                                                         To Moffitt and Parkesdale’s






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.



David really does have some great pictures to show the distance they are from us and how totally uninterested in us they are.SAM_8904



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.





Gorgeous River!




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!


  1. Loved the trip. I felt as though I was traveling with you thank you!!!

  2. what a dreamy Saturday on the river. Wow

  3. Sorry you are leaving our area. Nice pictures but still not used to the gators. Have a great time at Disney. I live here and you get to Disney a lot more than I do. Do you ride all the rides? How do you handle that crowd? Hope you enjoyed the cold weather!

  4. When we lived on the Hillsborough River in Temple Terrace, my son would paddle his canoe down there for hours. He was only 12-15 then, but loved that river.

    Virtual hugs,


  5. I love traveling with you. You always have such great pictures and you add so much detail. Thank you

  6. Great trip! I have to admit to being a bit queasy about being in a low freeboard craft around gators and snakes. I have already had some unpleasant encounters with both. Water moccasins dropping into my canoe from trees and being run down by a gator in Shark Alley. Have you had any problems along those lines?

  7. We rented canoes there and it took a little while until we got comfortable with all the alligators at eye level.
    You got some great photos of that beautiful river.

  8. I have to say I think gators are so darn ugly that they are really beautiful creatures. You can have them though, - gators, snakes, and such wouldn't frighten me but I don't think I'd spend time looking at them. If there were lots of people and noise on the water, you caught peace and serenity in your photos.

  9. Glad you got a break in the weather to enjoy the river!!! Great Photos... never seen a Scarlet Snake before:o)) HI, HO.. Hi, HO... It's time to Wish Upon A Star;o)))

  10. Eye to eye with gators and snakes, no thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. The pictures of that tree snake are AMAZING! What a great find!

  12. I just love how turtles like to sit with their feet up! Looks like a gorgeous day on the water. The snake is fabulous!

  13. That scarlet snake's a big one. I wonder what gators think while people pass by.

  14. Most Excellent pictures and you captured the heart of the Florida outdoor experience with them. Mom and I spent a few days in Hillsborough River year before last and hope to go back again soon.

  15. Again today your pictures made me feel like I was in the kayak with you seeing everything you were seeing.

  16. What a perfect paddling day! I was just telling Eric today (while we were paddling the Wekiva River) that there's no place like Florida for kayaking. We've never paddled the Hillsborough River, but after seeing your wonderful photos, it's going on our list. Kayaking makes us happy, too. :-)

  17. p.s. I've never seen a scarlet snake! Very beautiful.

  18. Wow! What a great day! This was a wildlife jackpot trip. You certainly had a good day despite all the other people. Your photos of the gators and turtles are great. Glad David spotted that pretty snake:) You made your last day a wonderful good bye to this area. Have an awesome time at Disney:)

  19. These pictures are so wonderful. One of my favorite paddles . . . vicariously, of course.

  20. So nice to see you guys made it out for a nice paddle before you had to leave. It would have been a shame to have missed out on that one.

  21. How fun to get to have the anticipation of Disneyworld! That alligator looks so comfy on that log.

  22. A wonderful day on the lazy river, and for us not another human in sight :-) The gators are awesome, especially the tree hugger. What a treat to have the time with the hawk and then the limpkin - they obviously appreciate kindred spirits :-))) Love David's pics, especially the ones of you with the gators on the bank. The lilies look out of place in that environment, like someone brought a small bouquet and set it there.

  23. Hillsborough River was my first kayak.... I was amazed and in wonderment over the beauty of the Florida rivers I had not gone 50 feet with my friend and a big alligator slowly across the river in front of us... she is from Florida and said don't worry he's just going to the other side to get some Sit was spectacular the whole paddle...

  24. Perfect day even if it was a Saturday - so close to those gators and birds - Dad sure has a good eye. Not sure I'd have spotted the snake or the flower. Lovely paddle!

  25. Thanks to eagle-eyed David for showing us that pretty snake, although Im afraid of them, this one is really a beauty.
    I have a feeling that gator took some lessons from you about hugging trees!
    What a lovely day you had, and your smiles says it all.

  26. What a lovely paddle. It is nice that you were able to get out on the water again. I have always wondered about the gators...if they ever messed with the kayaks or canoes? You always emerge safe and sound so it seems keeping your distance and being cautious seems to work for you. The best photo of the day was the gator treehugger!! So fitting that you got that pic!

  27. I think the gator was eyeing you, but even though you are petite, you are still too big to be of interest for a snack or even a meal, especially with that long blue appendage you have. I suppose things might be different if you provoked him though, but I know you would never consider that, so no worries.

  28. I love the idea of kayaking, if my shoulders would take it, but the alligators would make me nervous even if they love trees. Yet you two always see so much, the lilies, turtles, snake and hawk. You do look like happy, and quiet, paddlers. OH BOY, Disney!

  29. Quite the paddle, but I better not show Wayne those pics of the snakes and gators or he would never go to Florida! At the bottom of his list as it is, Alaska is at the bottom of mine.


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