Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Boating with the alligators...

We are still in Florida.

More adventures awaited us when we met up with our friends Robbie and Alice from Washington State.  We camped with them twice, once by plan and once by accident.  We spent several days with them at E. G. Simmons County park where we spent time with our boats exploring the surrounding water out and into Tampa Bay.

The next time we met up with them we had just pulled into Monument Lake park in the Big Cypress National Preserve Florida and come to find out they had pulled in just 5 minutes before us.  It is a small world.

Out came the boats again and we headed out to the Turner River Canoe trail to see what was there.  If ever in this part of Florida we all recommend this canoe trip.  It was spectacular and a little unnerving at first having to paddle next to alligators bigger than our boat and looking down and seeing them swimming under us in less than 2 feet of water.

Thanks Robbie for these first two shots of us trying to navigate the mangrove tunnels.

Dick had to take off his hat rather than get it brushed off by the branches and Robbie had to try and get a picture of him with his shirt on inside out.  Must have been rushing this morning.

We got some shots of Robbie and Alice trying to get through the tunnel.  You had to break down your oars in half to use them and at times all you could do was grab a limb and pull your way through.  All in all it was fun.

Besides birds and turtles the trees were full of air plants of all sizes.

Lots and lots of alligators, from these two little guys sunning themselves in the brush...

to larger ones that kept an eye on us as we went by.  Let me tell you we also kept an eye on them.

This one looked to be about 8 feet long and looked hungry.

We are sure there is a big grin on the face of this one, did we just hear a big burp?

A little closer look as he/she swam by.

And even a little closer look for those who want to reach out and just about touch one.

There should be a story here... caption anyone?

To be continued...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hiking, biking and horses

Not a lot to see in this part of Florida but we headed off with our friends Bruce and Ronda to see what we could.  We ended up at Highlands Hammock State Park where they rented bikes and we had ours with us so off we went for a bike and hike trip around the park. 

Some interesting trails (hiking) through the palms with the sun filtering down through them.

Boardwalks where it is wet meander in and around the trees and bushes.

With the sun shining through this beautiful palm frond made it look like it glowed.  And it did.

On another day we went to the winter training location about 20 miles away of the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions and they put on quite the show.  All for a $5.00 donation entrance fee.  Bruce and Ronda said they thought it was a better show than the expensive one where the horses and riders are all dressed up!

You could sit next to the fence and enjoy the horses and riders with the announcer explaining each move and relating it to the history of the horses.

They had trained the horses to jump completely off the ground and it was quite a site to see.

This one was waving to the people across from us.

Dick could only get 5 of the 6 horses in this shot but they must have spent 10 minutes with all of them in the ring at the same time.

Just a close up shot of one of the beautiful stallions for our granddaughter Molly.

The owners grandkids were playing in the arena as we arrived, you can add your own caption to this picture.

To be continued...