Now that we have left our busy busy schedule at Disney World I’m going to try to speed ahead and catch the blog up at least closer to the present.
When I made our reservations for Fort Wilderness, I requested 6 nights but when I went to the online check in, I found that they had only reserved for 5 nights. Hmmmmm. I called Disney and I think it was their mistake, they, of course, think it was mine. However it happened there was nothing to be done now since they could not extend us another day. Thus we left on Friday and I had scrambled up a site back at Hillsborough for Friday night since we had reservations at Myakka River for Saturday. So the stop in Hillsborough made for a shorter driver which was nice.
On Saturday the winds were quite strong at over 20 mph so thankfully we only had a short 81 mile trip. We stopped for gas at Pilot and with our discount paid $1.699. It seems that gas is more expensive here in Florida than I have heard it is out west where someone mentioned gas in the $1.30’s. Wow! And one more statistic, it never got above 55 today which I’m sure sounds heavenly to people like Jodee of On The Road Abode who told me it was 17 where they are out west. I feel warmer just hearing that.
We checked into our large full hook up site. There is plenty of room for Winnona, Ruby, the dolly, our screen tent and more. However, the Verizon service is very weak. Thankfully we have a booster and an antenna so it isn’t a problem for us although if we don’t want to stand with the phones in the antenna cradle we have better luck talking outside.
Myakka has 3 campgrounds. Two of them are Water and Electric campgrounds and have a true Old Florida feel. The third is up near the front of the park, some distance from the Outpost and the Bird Walk. This is a newer campground with a newer feel and full hook ups. We have stayed in both types of campgrounds and while I really prefer the feel of Old Florida, with all the rain this winter I am very glad to be in a campground with paved roads.
On Sunday we took advantage of the low of 38 to warm up the rig by making pancakes. I used the washers and dryers at the bath house here to do a couple loads of wash. $1.50 each to wash and to dry. David worked on some projects around the rig including using using Awesome on the mildew that has accumulated under the awning in the past 3 months of rain here in Florida. The day slipped away as we did those real life chores that were totally neglected while we were at Disney
On Monday we take our bikes around the park to see what if any wildlife we can find. Myakka River is well known for amount of birds and alligators easily visible during the drought times of winter. But this year has been very different and very very rainy. Thus the wildlife does not have to gather in central locations where the water is still available.
And that’s what we find, a lack of wildlife. We bike down the road stopping at what, over several visits here, have become our “regular” stops. The Myakka River is up very high at the bridge. There are only two alligators able to find dry spots near the bank. It is difficult even to see them. Usually there are at least half a dozen gators.
There are a couple of birds on the edge of the water and a few more in the trees but nothing like the numbers of previous years. The water is too deep for wading near the river so they are most likely much further back where the flooding of usually dry lands has occurred and the water is more shallow.
We bike on down the road and pull in to a picnic area with a couple of benches and one table. It is located by what is usually a narrow channel but today the flooding has come up under the tables and benches.
We find a snowy egret fishing next to the picnic table. He doesn’t have his fancy breeding feathers yet but it looks like they are starting.
Our destination is the Bird Board Walk about 5 miles from our site. Along the way we really don’t see anything else before we arrive. This is all unusual.
The board walk goes out into lake Myakka Lake where normally we see many many birds including the common herons and egrets along with White Pelicans, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Black Necked stilts and others. Today we see a white immature little blue heron. The color always suprises me since I start thinking egret until I get closer. What a color change the little blue does from juvenile to adult. We are entertained by one tri colored heron fishing and the flitting of a palm warbler. My favorite picture here is of the tri color with his bad hair day.
But our best find of the day comes as we pedaling back on the road. A red shouldered hawk swoops across the road in front of me and lands in a low tree branch just off to the side. Of course we stop and he amazingly pays us no mind and stays around long enough for us to take WAY too many pictures of him. He is just the most amazingly beautiful creature.
When I first spot him he has obviously picked up some yummy morsel off the road and is eating it.
Luckily for me when he finishes, he moves over from behind the broken branch and poses majestically.
He graciously gives me every profile. Do you think he knows how handsome he is?
Ok, one last look and we really do have to get on down the road.
The waters are up on both sides of the road. Not over the road yet but areas that are usually dry no longer are.
That’s upper Myakka Lake beyond the second small strip of land. All the water between the edge of the road and the lake is flooding.
The outpost is the commercial area of Myakka RiverState Park. From here they do tram tours which have been cancelled due to the flooding. They do airboat tours which are going on as usual. They have a store, a gift shop and a small restaurant.
Along the canal is one alligator snoozing.
One little blue heron fishing. The adult looks so different from the juvenile we saw at the bird walk.
They have extraordinary coloring with their green legs and shades of blue and almost violet.
From the outpost we usually walk down to the weir. There is a path at the edge of the parking lot that goes to the very small dam built here in the 1940’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Usually there is a gathering of animals at this spot. We’ve seen numerous alligators, woodstorks and roseate spoonbills on previous trips. Today we can’t even get down the path.
Because of the light, I’m not sure you can see the water but it’s deep enough that you would need wading boots or some serious high top water proof hikers to make it down to the weir which would probably be under water and not visible.
Well that’s about it for our inspection of the status of the park. We have about 2.5 more miles back to the campground.
Flooded or not, Myakka River is a beautiful park with the feel of Old Florida on its tree lined spanish moss draped roads.