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

Henry David Thoreau

Last Days at Myakka

Saturday January 31 and Sunday February 1, 2015
Myakka River State Park
Sarasota, Florida



We have developed the custom of laying low on the week-end.  We let the folks who swarm in to get their two day nature fix have the park.  We cook, or clean or do laundry or read.  None of that is particularly blog worthy but I did bike down to the Canopy Walk to see the sun set over the tops of the trees.



The trail to the canopy walk is longer than the return from it so I go in the back way and lock my bike to the no bikes sign.

It’s a pretty good climb to the top.  Multiple sets of stairs, around and around.  I take a picture looking down.   I can’t see all the way to the bottom.  But the plaque tells me how far up I’ve climbed.  If you come in the front way you are about half way up when you get to the tower.











At the top, I am greeted by the sun just on the edge of the tree tops.




I realize I’d better take a picture of the tree tops to show how far up I am since I won’t be able to see them in my sunset photos. Too much light from the blazing ball going down.   I love being able to see the different shades of green from up here and to try to figure out who is who.  The palms are obvious and look very different in contrast with the other trees.




On the other side of the tower, the almost full moon has come up in the sky.   What could be better than the sunset on one side and the nearly full moon on the other.








The colors in the sky are wonderful.  I stay and stay until I’m afraid I won’t be able to find my way out on the path in the dark.






As I predicted, it’s dark when I walk out of the forest and get on my bike.  I turn on my headlight…………..dead batteries.  I don’t ride much after dark so I never thought to check.   But the tail light works.  There are almost no cars on the road and those coming toward me can surely see me in their lights so with a flashing tail light I feel safe on my ride home.  I’m really glad I came to see the sun go down over the tree tops.






Today is our last day at Myakka River State Park so we do brave the week-enders a bit.

Nancy and I start the day before any of them are out and about.  We meet at the Canopy Walk Tower for sunrise.  I bike, she walks.   I have to bring a hand held flashlight since I don’t have any AAA batteries for my headlight and only two of the batteries are rechargeable.   Onto the list rechargeables go.

It’s barely light as she comes up the steps to meet me.




We watch as the sky gets lighter and more color before it darkens as the sun blazes up.   I love this picture of Nancy.





The birds know when both sunrise and sunset are.  I always notice that they sing at dawn and dusk and seem to be flying home or wherever at sunrise and sunset.   Today is no exception.



Clouds have gathered at the horizon so all we see of the actual sunrise is a little orange blaze through a crack in the clouds.




And then it breaks through and the rays shine out.  What is more glorious than this??  Another wonderful day has begun.




The more powerful the sun, the darker my pictures but I love this one so I just added it along. 



Once the Hallelujah is over, we head back down and Nancy suggests that while we are here, we just walk the nature trail.  Great idea.  The early morning light put this red bellied woodpecker with his tasty treat into the shadows.  But patience pays off as I eventually get him in enough color to make out his red head.





We watch a number of birds from the bridge including a half dozen ibis, a great egret and others.  I particularly liked this ibis trio and the greater yellow legs reflected in the water.








At trail’s end, Nancy walks south and I bike north.   Later in the day, David wants to see the park cabins built by the CCC in the 30’s and being worked on this year by the park. The official statement of why the cabins are closed says that they are being renovated. “Improvements will include raising them above flood stage, new pine wood floors, new appliances and repairs.”

The cabins are up at the front end of the park very near Bill and Nancy’s site so I call them to see if they want to go with us. I have to leave a message.  Hoping they will get it, we set out biking south and trying to avoid all the cars on the park road.

When we get to the bridge, there are Bill and Nancy. They were biking down to the bird walk in our direction, got my message and waited for us here. So off we go to see the only palm log cabins I know of.    They are really cute cabins and I am glad to see the park service is maintaining the work of the CCC from 80 some years ago.

We inspect the work that has been done and is being done.  Nancy takes a group picture of us and kindly shares it with me for this post.  Thanks Nancy!




01 - Myakka Cabin Photo


As we are leaving to head down to the bird walk, we look up and notice the happy resurrection ferns and the brilliant pink lichen growing on this branch of a large live oak tree.




We bike on down past the bridge, past the Sweet Meadow Pasture Ranch Road and past our campground to arrive at the bird walk once again.  Before heading down the boardwalk we check out the shore beyond this giant live oak.  While we are doing that, all of a sudden a red shouldered hawk swoops right past us into the tree.   How cool!!







There are also several ospreys whirling around in the air.  Nancy gets great shots of flying birds so I’m crossing my fingers she will post some since mine are not nearly as good.




Along the boardwalk I do get a nice shot of this glossy ibis.  I can really see his colors here.



Remember the yawning night heron from our Wilderness paddle?  Well today’s funny bird is this tricolored heron who is flitting from spot to spot and squawking every time he flies.   I take tons of pictures of him, it is so funny.  I can’t figure out what he is doing.  If Judy is out there, perhaps she will know.   He goes on and on, over and over.  He’s still at it when we leave.   We laugh and laugh.





He really sort of jumps as he takes wing. 


On our way down the boardwalk I can’t resist this great blue heron winging over the water.   It’s our last time at the bird walk until our next visit.




Biking back we stop for a bit to watch a couple of fellas cast their nets for tilapia.  There is quite an art to it.




We bid Nancy and Bill goodbye.  We leave in the morning to go south and they leave on Tuesday to move just a little bit north before turning south themselves.  We don’t know when we will see each other again but we know we will and the good times will continue.


Myakka says a beautiful  goodbye to us with this lovely sunset.  .  It’s been particularly great to see how different the area is during a wet season.  We’ve sure had a wonderful week here.



  1. Yup. If it was up to me, (and it isn't at the moment) I would be in Florida right now! But it takes two to tango and Florida isn't Mo's cuppa tea the way it is mine, so here we are in the beautiful northwest.

  2. Oh, so lovely -- all of it. I love all of these pictures. I'm not very discerning, but so what? : - )

  3. So much fun that you keep connecting with Nancy and Bill -- you guys have an unofficial caravan going on! The Tricolored heron seemed almost to be doing a crazy dance like the Reddish egret does. Isn't it wonderful to have the luxury of time for slowing down and observing all that nature offers?

  4. If you can tell the difference between lesser and greater yellowlegs when seen alone, you are a much better birder than I. As for the tricolored heron, I think it has indigestion. ;)

    1. Now that is a serious hoot. You are one of the two best birders I've ever known but I had the benefit of my pictures and this website: http://sdakotabirds.com/diffids/lesser_greater_yellowlegs.htm

  5. I like your picture of Nancy too and am glad you two got out for the sunrise. I rarely get up before the sun but never regret it when I do. It is the other twilight time that so few will get up for that rewards those who do.

  6. Maybe that tricolored heron was complaining about poor breakfast choices??? ;c)

  7. The views from that tower are amazing!

  8. The birding here has been wonderful. But nothing beats sunset and rise from the tower view.

  9. Thanks for allowing us to enjoy your visit to this beautiful place.

    I was under the impression that all tilapia are farmed. Is casting nets the way they bring them up?

    1. Tilapia are all over the waters of central Florida Marty and the state encourages fishermen to take them. Problem is they will seldom go for the hook and thus net casting is the main way they are harvested. No need to farm them here.

  10. Boy, you certainly did a wonderful job with your sunset and sunrise photos!! And that moon shot is perfect. Great job, Sherry! Glad you got home all right in the dark:) That pink lichen is very cool!

  11. Love that we got to share that wonderful SUNRISE in such a spectacular location. It was like a nest above the trees!!! I have fallen in love with Myakka State Park...each time we go it shows us something different!!! You have capture the beauty of this wonderful place in your post. Not sure I will ever get my photos posted, but truly appreciate that I can relive this experience on your blog:o))

  12. Very cool to see the sunset and sunrise from the same spot. Not sure what that Heron is doing, must have been a good laugh for you both.

  13. Love the Hallelujah - I hear it too when the sunrise is big and bright like that (with cymbals!). Sunsets are generally more saxophone solos :-) The dancing heron is delightful. I've never heard of building with palm tree logs, but wonder why there wasn't more of it given the number of fallen palms after hurricanes. Interesting. I think your deer sent the hawk to thank you and bless your departure.

  14. What a wonderful week you all had! I love, love, love that last picture of the sunset...stunning!

  15. Such a nice time. Glad you made it down all those steps in the dark and back home. The colors on the birds are amazing. Never even heard of a palm log cabin. How cool!

  16. One day we might be back to FL so this place could be on our list, your bird photos are enticing me.
    That Tricolored heron is acting like the Reddish Egret that I observed recently at Riviera.
    You had some fabulous sunsets out there.

  17. Love the pictures! Great times again with friends :) Gorgeous sunset, gorgeous moon, gorgeous birds. Neat cabins too.

  18. That's some crazy looking lichen! Very tropical though.


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