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

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A Sweet Treat at the End (and some pictures for Carl)

Saturday March 1, 2014
Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, Florida




On our way over to meet Laurie and George for lunch a few days ago I saw a sign for the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. It was the desire to kayak all the National Wildlife Refuges that originally started me looking for a way to spend years on the road. This of course led to Winnona. At that time I didn’t realize that most National Wildlife Refuges don’t have campgrounds and many don’t have campgrounds near them. Some, like Lake Woodruff allow kayaking but don’t have a launch. If you can get your boat in the water you are welcome to paddle.




So today we decide to go over and check out Lake Woodruff refuge. I actually do know that the best time to go to a refuge is early morning or late afternoon near sunset but somehow we don’t get out early enough and I forget that I really should just wait until later.

Thus we don’t see as  much at the refuge but there are always things to see, it’s a beautiful hike and now we know where it is.  They do allow you to kayak if you can find anywhere to put in. We’ll return and look it over carefully so I can kayak my National Wildlife Refuges.  :-)






We take two of the 4 short hikes through the hammock area of the refuge, one before and one after a hike around one of the 3 dikes to the observation tower. We had hoped to see the otter family who lives there in that area but the afternoon must have been as hot for them as it was for us.





What we see mostly is coots coots and more coots. There is a sandhill crane nesting out in the middle which was a bit of a stretch for my camera. Her protector is nearby keeping his eye out.   The red maples are in bloom, a sure sign that spring is here at least in Florida.  In fact, today it is downright hot at mid afternoon.














There were several groups of people but none of the crowds I am sure are at Blue Springs on a Saturday.  That is a wonderful thing about National Wildlife Refuges.  They are beautiful places with seldom too many people.  They are designed for the wildlife.











We enjoy the year round residents we encounter.  And of course no Florida walk or paddle would be complete without turtles and alligators.













There are few things more terrific after a hike on a hot afternoon than ice cream or in this case, frozen yogurt.  Luckily, we had arranged to meet our friends Paula, Robert and Olivia at Berryville in DeLand..  

We park the car a block or so down from there and as we are walking along I see cousins of my bulldog friend Carl hanging out at a sidewalk restaurant.  

Today was the Mardi Gras Dog Parade apparently.   So take a look Carl, they are almost as cute as you are.  Wish we’d come to see the costumes and the owner dog look alike contest.









We arrive before our friends so we go in to check out which 16 flavors of yogurt are on tap today.   At Berryville, you pick up a cup and put in whatever combination of yogurts in whatever amounts you want. 

But be warned!! Don’t do as I did and put too much yogurt in your cup and not have enough room for the dazzling array of toppings available including hot fudge, caramel, raspberry and at least 5 other toppings and whipped cream. 















We take a table outside and soon our friends join us.  I wonder how they keep from coming here no less than once a week.  It really is a good thing I’m on the road.




This is what mine looks like half eaten.  Yes, I am an absolute piggy!  I can’t wait to come back again at least once before we leave.











We have a great time catching up with them and hearing about 4th grade Olivia’s award winning environmental project for school.  Olivia also tells us about a place called the Lyonia Preserve and she says we simply MUST go there.   So we’re going to put it on our list for early next week.    Thanks you guys!







  1. Ooh, Robert is a handsome devil! Thank you for taking some time to visit with us! We love you guys, really, and look forward to seeing you when you pass through. It's hard to be a tourist in your hometown. But, you helped remind me of what's good and worthwhile about our home. We look forward to seeing you on the next pass through! :)

  2. Very good post today as well as terrific pictures. I don't think people think about wildlife refuges as a destination - I know I didn't until I stopped at the Modoc (CA) refuge last summer and then visited Judy Bell at Tamarac in MN.

  3. In my next life, I'm going to come back as a bulldog. I love 'em and I already have the face for it... :cD

    Have you ditched JMC for a new favorite? :cO

  4. Oh, how exciting!!! Brian and Carl were SO touched that you thought of them!!! Those were some BIG dogs.. Brian says the 1st one is the best, liked his 'face'
    and of course liked your 'turtle' picture!!!

  5. Great clouds and stunning color in the maple seed wings! Should have made the dog parade - that would have been a hoot or maybe a woof! Always forget to tale a picture of the ice cream until it is nearly gone. Why is that I wonder??

  6. Wow...you use the term "HOT"?!?! Amazing how different the temps can be within the same state!! We are in search of Hot Chocolate instead of Ice Cream;o)) Love the Wildlife Refuges..more nature than crowds!!

  7. Alligators, turtles and birds, oh my! What a nice walk in the wildlife!

  8. Great wildlife! But I do like that wildlife you found in town! I have a bulldog friend, Casey, here in the park that visits every morning for a treat. I am up to five dogs that come by for treats. I have quite a selection of treats on the dash. Yummy ice cream!!!

  9. Well that looked to be a yummy treat for the day. A good hike in the outdoors. Good company, entertaining animal life and dessert. Perfect!

  10. Beautiful day even if it was hot. You got ice cream-fun & tasty :) Looks like a pretty paddle in that refuge. I hope you get back there!! You have so many friends! I'm impressed :)

  11. We've gotten into trouble at one of those frozen yogurt places. You pay by the ounce! George got a larger cup one time, and our bill ended up to be over $25! Yikes. We avoid them now, too tempting. That wildlife refuge looks like a nice place to wander around. The weather is turning rainy here, but we're planning a hike on the Yearling trail when it clears up.

  12. Wish we could find some hot weather, looks like a great place after a nice hike. Loved the bulldog.

  13. Catching up ... always fun to come over here and read about your days ... love those serve yourself yogurt places... and bulldogs are soooo cute! you are talking about Nancy's Carl? hahaa

    still icy here! hiss

    1. jeez as soon as I hit publish I meant... Loree not Nancy... ;./

  14. We're always searching out wildlife refuges everywhere we go, too -- have even found some with campgrounds (no hookups, of course). And you're right, they're always much less crowded than any state or national park. From your photos, Lake Woodruff refuge reminds me a lot of Payne's Prairie. Such a lovely landscape.


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