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

Henry David Thoreau

More to do at Highlands

Thursday January 24, 2012
Site 97 Highlands Hammock State Park
Sebring, Florida


This is the post that would have been before we got the news of David’s numbers so it’s a tad behind.



In addition to the museum, the tram ride, the potluck and the Inn I talked about in two previous posts,  there are plenty of other things to keep you very busy here.


But count me out on the coffee.

I have the same attitude about coffee that Paul Dahl does.  An evil brew that smells up the coach.  David is rather a coffee snob in my opinion.  He LOVES “good” coffee and can spend an inordinate amount of time checking out all the various types.  Although he has cut his coffee drinking way down in deference to his health.  He still has distinct preferences as he does in beer and can discuss the nuances of each ad nauseum.

This morning he clearly remembers the 9am coffee and biscuits gathering and walks over to the rec building, same spot as the potluck,  in time to chat with the folks and eat 4 of those biscuits.  He says he doesn’t think they are home made but they are good all the same and nice sized.  About the size of an English muffin.  He reports that the coffee is not so much, but the really fine thing is the clearly home made jams done by one of the women helping to set up the event.  There is raspberry, apricot and apricot/pineapple.  He declares these to be EXCELLENT, not too sweet.  He tries all of them multiple times. 


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He took this picture before all of the 40 or 50 people who attended were there and amazingly neglected to get any close ups of either the biscuits or the jam.   But it gives you a sense of the space in which the potluck was held last night since I forgot the camera for that event.

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We are getting the idea that one of the things making this park so popular is the social events.   Between yesterday and today there are 3 and usually there is a dinner on Thursday but it’s been cancelled for this week only (too bad for us).  Not exactly sure why.

We have also learned that there is a group of people who return year after year and many stay two weeks, go somewhere nearby for a night, come back in for another two weeks and repeat for most of the winter.


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This includes our very nice neighbors, Bob and Karalee Anderson from Connecticut in their sweet little Casita.  They have been on one side for our entire stay.  We’ve had 2 out of 3 good neighbors on the other side including Terry and Candy from South Bend, Indiana who own the finely labeled Coachmen Mirada I’ll show below.  People are very friendly and so far we haven’t had any noise problems really.  But it’s not the week-end either. 



There are lots of other things to do here in addition to all of the volunteer run social events.


I showed you the museum, the Inn with its ice cream and the tram ride in previous posts.  And then there are these things.


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There’s also biking and interesting discoveries.


Today after “breakfast” we set out on a 3 mile unpaved bike trail.   As we are getting the bikes ready, we notice some interesting things about our neighbor’s Coachmen Mirada.  This is one of the benefits of such close quarters.  You get a good look at the rigs around you.  

Terry was a sign maker and he clearly is not quite retired.  We  think this is a great idea as you get older and have CRS (can’t remember s*^#)

All the bins are labeled.

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Back to the bike ride, the sand is a bit sketchy in parts for our non mountain bike hybrid tires but mostly it is a lovely ride through at least two of the park’s habitats.  It is a 3 mile circle around the campground.


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As we finish the loop which starts at the ranger’s station, we go by the recreation building before going back into the campground.  David sees something he’s missed twice before but today strikes him as really funny.   Aren’t fines usually $100, $150, multiples of 10???  He’d love to know how this one came to be such a unique number.  Anyone from Florida know??


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After stopping at Winnona to have lunch, we head out again on the bikes down another non paved bike trail.  Same little problems with the sand but in about a mile or so we return to the paved surface.


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At one point before returning to the paved park roads we have to cross a county road.  Clearly they do not want you to just ride right across.

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There are even more ways to exercise than hiking and biking.

Along the side of the beautiful park road are some exercise stations.  We stop at a couple to try them out.  After two of them, we’ve had enough.  You know how you shy away from things that are hard even if they are good for you?


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The body curl station.

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The chin up station.

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Now about that hiking.

The park has 9 trails.  They are all advertised as 30 to 40 minutes long.  That’s true unless you are us.  We take forever.  But we can vouch for the fact that these are seriously beautiful hikes.  And it’s Florida, flat, no hills.  So you can stroll if you want to, you don’t even have to hike.


In short order we arrive at the trail head for the one I most want to walk, the Cypress Swamp Trail which has a cat walk.  Not just A catwalk but an HISTORIC catwalk.   Those CCC boys were at it again.


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If you like swamps, like I  do (though not in mid summer), then this is a real find.   I took a zillion pictures but I’ll only post a few to just give you the flavor.


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Cypress are deciduous conifers.

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The catwalk immerses you in the swamp. 

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You are actually out in the middle of the swamp and you don’t even have to get your shoes muddy. 

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And you just never know who you might meet coming up behind you.  This is Sophie.  Isn’t she just darling??  I wanted to snatch her right up and take her home.  She’s too little for the catwalk.  She might fall in.  And anyway, what would the cats think??   Not to mention the gators.


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Back on the bikes we ride on down the road to the the next trail head.


This is David’s favorite hike, he’s expecting BIG trees.


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The major wildlife sighting on the trail.  Cool looking yes?

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In short order he’s not disappointed.  No way to get the whole view of this tree as it soars into the air.  Look at that foundation.  I should have backed up some more so you could see those feet all the way out to the ends.   They extend beyond the bottom lower corners of the picture.


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All of these woods are full of wild orange trees.  I think I mentioned that on the first post from here.  And David has shaken them all to no avail trying to get wild oranges.  I personally think others shook harder or earlier in the day, but he has found several on the ground.  He tested them out and declared them far too tart for me.  I trust his opinion and don’t try them.  But for him, hope springs eternal.  He’s shaking another one.  No luck here either.


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Our last trail for today.


Another beauty.

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Ok check that map…..to the left on the path or the right over the bridge??

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It isn’t clear on the map.  So I go left on the path and he goes right over the bridge.   Here’s what I find.


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Here’s what David finds.

More of those sour things but this time they smell really good like you think oranges should smell. Maybe these are ripe.  He found them on the ground like the others.  We shall see.


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Continuing on, it’s a ferny path all right. 
Ferns for as far as you can see.  BIG ferns.

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In all we biked 7.5 miles, hiked over 5 miles all on beautiful trails, found three oranges and had a great time.   It’s been a very good day here in Highlands Hammock.


  1. That would be a perfect day in my book. Love swamps!

  2. I have been gone for a few days and missed the post about David's and your good news. I am so happy to hear about David's remission. I pray he stays healthy for many, many years.

  3. CRS - Yep, that about covers it! At least what I can remember! Loved your hike and bike day. That would be perfect for me especially if dinner was waiting in the thermal cooker.

  4. love ferns ... nice walk we shared ;) ... I love those walkways ... kinda scary sometimes though but that's part of the fun. oranges in the swamp? I never

  5. love reading and seeing your travels! patty in California

  6. There is an intersection in Sacramento that has a $246 fine if you don't clear it by the time the light turns red, and they catch you on camera! I always wondered why not just make it $250. I, too, LOVE my coffee, but it has to be good coffee. Biscuits, home made jam, and coffee sounds like heaven to me!

  7. Great trails! Trees and ferns and oranges and waterlilies and a BEAGLE! Terrific day :) I love the picture looking straight up to the sky through the trees. Dad looks pretty good attempting that chin-up and I the picture of you by the big tree is a keeper :)

  8. Great photo's and a mighty fine tour.
    You may complain about that Fuji, but it takes better pic's than me.

  9. We came across wild oranges once...they were so pretty...but tasted horrible!! Very, very sour. Love all of your pictures!

  10. It looks REALLY green and ferny.... but beautiful!!!

  11. Oh yes, George is all about coffee. We have a Keurig, and buying coffee for it is a big part of our grocery budget :( I encourage him to get the 'free' coffee in the RV park office once in awhile :)

  12. Yummy -- biscuits and homemade jam! Nice hike and bike ride too.

  13. I'm like you, I detest coffee. And just like David, Marti loves the stuff. Maybe we should swap spouses... ;c)

    Loved the swamp, they really made the access great. Somebody really planned well for visitors enjoyment of the area.

  14. All that exercise surely took off a few Disney pounds. I love how thick and lush the vegetation is, and those trees Are truly Huge! How fun to walk right out and above the swamp on the cat/dog walk.

  15. The swamp trails look very inviting. I'd love to explore them.

    Good news about Dave!

  16. Loved the Fern trail. They were so big and beautiful. And I too love a good cup of coffee, but one a day is all I do.

  17. My timing was good but that's abou all. I read your blog with my iPhone and a magnifying glass and was so happy to hear the good news. I tried to leave a commen-took the better part if a half hour and it disappeared. I can't see what I'm typing so please excuse tee typos. You have been an inspiration to me through. I miss all the bloggers I followed and will follow again but I know a lot if them follow you so here's a big hi to everyone. I go on Feb 14 and hope I'll be able to do more. I've written this 5 times and lost it-so tired I'm giving up. Hobopals

    1. Nancy... so glad to hear from you. made a comment on your blog jeeez back in November? nothing from you. so glad ... what happened? can you update your blog and let us know? did I miss what happened to you?

      Glad you posted on Sherry's blog!

  18. What a great trip through the hammock and swamp. Thanks for taking us along.

  19. Wow! What a day! Nice boardwalk, will have to put that on our to do list..David must be REALLY feeling great to do all that! And you must be over the coughing crud. Yay!

  20. I had to laugh at David shaking orange trees! That's the first time I've heard of shaking orange trees. I imagine most trees that you find in the wild have tart oranges. The Florida orange trees have been grafted on lemon tree stock. If they start growing before that graft line you'll get sour oranges. We had an orange tree in our Tampa house. It got killed by a hard freeze one year and Al cut it down to the ground intending to dig out the roots later on. Before he could do that, it started to grow back and became a healthy and beautiful tree. It produced pretty oranges but they were inedible...very tart. I imagine most "wild" orange trees we see around are like that....but then again I've never shaken the tree and checked. :)

  21. Lovely. Everything is lovely. I want to be there.

  22. Love coffee. We actually had an espresso machine and a conical burr grinder before we set out on our RVing adventure, and they were two of our prized possessions! Alas they are sold.

    Now we make our daily cup (and yes, most of the time we only have one cup each a day) with a stovetop 'espresso maker', an Italian Moka Pot. It's great because it only takes propane, no need for electric for when we're boondocking.


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