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

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New England Suggestions?

Wednesday January 23, 2013
Site 97 Highlands Hammock State Park
Sebring, Florida


We make the tram.


Those of you who follow us know that we were at Kissimmee Prairie a short time back and wanted to take the tram into the back country but it broke down on the morning we were scheduled for the afternoon tour.  RATS!

But today at 1:00, we got on a much bigger tram with 20 of our closest friends and headed out into the habitats of Highlands Hammock.


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Ken Evans was our knowledgeable driver.  He took us out into the back 450 and showed us examples of the full hammock, the cypress swamp, the pine dry lands forest and the bay laurel marsh.

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We saw gators in the cypress swamp.

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It was amazing to move through a transition zone of less than 1/4 mile from the cypress swamp directly into the pine forest dry lands where totally different species of both plants and animals live.

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Unusual evidence of the CCC.

David particularly liked seeing the cement fence posts that the CCC had put in back in the 30’s were still standing, mostly.  None had deteriorated of course but some were fallen over and needed to be replanted.   We wondered why folks don’t use these permanent posts now days. David says they are too heavy….60 lbs. But I wonder why the concrete companies don’t offer these like concrete blocks.  They are sure more permanent than what we’re using now.  Probably cost right?  Like everything else.


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Through another short transition zone and we were in the Laurel Marsh where we came across this mother alligator and several years of offspring.


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Ken estimated those in this pile to be a couple of years old.  Baby Gators stay a long time with their mothers but no males are allowed around and even though the female is much smaller than the male she will run him off since he often will eat the young.  Boy some father right?

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I’m on the wrong side all of a sudden.

We also saw a Black crowned night heron,  5 or 6 great egrets, a great blue heron, Florida red bellied cooter turtles  and, yellow slider turtles.  But I had the problem one always encounters in taking a tour.  Which side of the bus or in this case the tram to sit on.  I picked the right side for the very beginning of the tour but the wrong side for this section so even though Ken did stop for all of these sightings, birds fly instantly and shooting over a row of 5 people doesn’t make for good shots.  But I have great memories.  Sorry no pictures to share. 

If you come to take the tram ride here sit on the driver’s side facing forward if at all possible.  Second choice, driver’s side facing backwards.  Unless of course s/he decides to take a totally different route than Ken did and then all bets are off.

Ken stopped to show us these Florida yellow Bladderworts that may be my new favorite plant.  They feed on mosquito larvae.  They were also on the opposite side of the tram from me.  So the pictures are not good. 

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The tram tour was well worth its $5 cost.  Our guide was very knowledgeable about all aspects of Highlands Hammock.


There are lots of aspects to the Highlands Hammock campground.

After we leave the tram, we bike back down the campground main road which I think is lovely. 

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I do want to remind you if you are becoming enamored with Highlands Hammock that it is a large campground, sites are close together.  You can hear your neighbor’s every move and also every time their furnace comes on and goes off all night long as the temperatures dip into the low 40’s.  Bath houses are adequate but old.


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The popularity of the campground may be due not only to its fine museum and trails but to the social activities set up by its “friends” group.   Tonight there is a potluck, tomorrow a coffee & muffins “breakfast” and tomorrow evening a ranger program. This ever changing white board at the campground host’s site keeps campers informed of everything going on.

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It’s a no picture potluck.

We spent some time making our dish to take to the potluck.   But at 5:45 we headed down to the recreation building at the end of the campground.  There was, as is usual in potlucks, a ton of food including my personal favorites, the desserts.  Everyone was very friendly and many people seemed to know each other. 

We met a couple celebrating because 6 months ago they had finally been able to book 3 weeks in the keys at 3 different state parks.  Boy I’d celebrate that too.  They leave next week to begin their stay.   Another couple was worried about what they were going to do after spending some days in a friend’s driveway after leaving Highlands as they had not been able to get any reservations anywhere south of Tampa for the rest of the winter.  That is going to be a problem.

And so is this, I forgot to bring my camera so there are no pictures unfortunately.


And what’s this about New England anyway?

By now you must be wondering what this post has to do with New England.  That was the title.  Well here’s the thing.   I’m starting to think about what we might do this summer if we can get David’s zometa infusions worked out so we can leave Florida.   I’d like to try to take that New England trip that was impossible with last summer’s stem cell transplant.  If you have any suggestions for things not to miss in up state New York, New Hampshire or Vermont please pass them along.  Any favorite places to camp along the route from Florida to Acadia National Park would really be appreciated too.


  1. We spent five months in those states in the summer and fall of 2011. We hit many great locations. If you check our blog for those months you might find some places to enjoy. It is a great part of the country and we plan on going back when we can:)

  2. Seeing as David really enjoys the CCC so much, definitely check out Watkin's Glen in NY, in the Finger lakes. Beautiful waterfalls, accented by outstanding stone walkways done by the CCC. he'll love it!
    I'm going to have to recommend Mt. Desert Narrows CG in Bar Harbor...we'll give you the preferred family and friends treatment!!

  3. My suggestion for a trip to New England is to figure out how much money you'd need, they add to it until it hurts and then double that.

    New England has many beautiful places and they are not ashamed to charge big bucks to see it.

    Maybe take a look at the Thousand Trails zone pricing, it might help stretch your budget.

  4. Sherry: thought about you today as we are at EG Simmons County Park in Ruskin, FL and many of the sites are directly on the channel for kayaking. It is another Hillsboro County Park and is first come first serve, so if one arrives during the week there are many spaces available the ranger says. Large spaces, not a huge amount of privacy and cost is $18/cash only including water and elec, many over the air tv channels from Tampa & St Pete. If you haven't checked it out, it might be a good choice when David has appts at Moffit. Dione

  5. Tram rides are nice, except for all the heads. I like that Bladderwort too, and anything else that's natural and reduces the mozi population. Can't help at all with the east coast. Yet I'm sure you'll find lots of interesting places to explore so I'll learn more.

  6. Our favorite campground in New England was at the state park in Camden, Maine but we were there in September, after the peak travel time.

  7. Loved seeing the gators! Eat their young indeed! I'm sure every parent has had those moments. I always told my kids they should be glad I wasn't a gator!! I'm not much help for where to stay in New England, but I'll enjoy your travels no matter where you end up!

  8. Glad you were able to get your tram ride in. Unfortunately can't help you with New England. Will look forward to your posts so that you can let us know the best places to see and stay.

  9. Any plant that eats things that bite is a very good plant indeed.
    Again I ask what brand, model,size camera do you carry with you?

  10. Thanks for taking us along on the Hammock tour. Love seeing baby gators.

  11. Green Mountains of Vermont and White Mountains of New Hampshire ... Adirondacks and Finger Lakes Region of New York ... all of Maine ~ check out the rice burger place on the main ... jeeeez can't remember ~ little blue drive in sit outside place before you get to Acadia NP ...

    There is so much to see in New England ~ great egg and potato breakfasts and Green Mountain Coffee ... that's where I'm heading back to... I need another eastern trip.

    Niagara Falls if you haven't seen them... is awesome. Don't care much for the area around there but the Falls? wow

    Mystic Connecticut ... Newburyport, Massachusetts ... just go ;) New England is really small but jam packed with gorgeous historical stuff. George Washington National Forest ... Harper's Ferry ... oh on and on ... wish I had blogged in 2007 ~ Floating Bridge in Vermont ... ah

    getting antsy here

  12. I'll second the state park in Camden Maine and through in a stop at the county park just before you get into the Cape Cod area...

  13. Great blog! The Tram Ride would be a lot of fun especially for taking so many photos. I'd love to visit New England some day but can't help with suggestions never having been there.

  14. I'm from Maine, so what am I going to suggest... New Hampshire's White Mountains! The Kankamangus Highway is one of the most beautiful drives in the country (although not in your RV!).

    Also, camping or even just visiting Maine's Acadia National Forest - although I know you didn't mention Maine in your travel plans - Isle au Haut is, again, one of my favorite places in the world. Only accessible by boat, most of the island is a National Park, the ocean is wild and wonderful, the air is perfumed with pine trees, there are wild, sweet crabapple trees and wild blueberries growing along the hiking trails... what's not to love?

  15. Neat to see the young alligators and so many different habitats in close range! I can't wait til you're in New England - I say upstate NY, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine...but that's just me thinking of states I like. We've been to Acadia - let's go again :)


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