Our Stay At Myakka River SP, Part 2 – Tues, Jan 7 to Sat, Jan 11, 2014

For the record, this blog is Part 2 of our stay at Myakka River State Park.  I previously posted Part 1 and I have NO IDEA where it went.  It is no longer on blogger or live writer.  This is when I find blogging very frustrating.  So enjoy Part 2 and maybe someday, Part 1 will reappear:o(( 
Tuesday - January 7 , 2014
Chilly South Florida;o((
The Artic Vortex moved through and we woke to temperatures in the 30s.  For southwest Florida, that is VERY cold.  We know most of the country is much, much colder so there was no excuse not to get out and do our morning walk.  So we bundled up and headed toward the birdwalk to see how the critters were managing in this weather.
Even before we left the campground, we saw these turkeys.
They didn’t seem to mind the COLD weather:o)01a2 - Early Morning Walk - wild turkeys
This robin was really puffed up to insulate itself from the cold!!01c - Early Morning Walk - Large Puffed Up Robin
The cold, crisp air and wispy clouds make for a pretty sunrise!!01a - Early Morning Walk - sunrise
Usually, you see the Sandhill Cranes in pairs or perhaps groups of 3 pairs.
However, today they were in one big group and they were very quiet;o((01b - Early Morning Walk - Large Group of Sandhill Cranes
It was really cold and windy out on the Birdwalk!!
The alligators were in the water to stay warm and this Blue Teal Duck was all alone.01d - Early Morning Walk - Gators in water staying warm01h - Early Morning Walk - Blue Winged Teal
Overhead, we did see an Osprey and Bald Eagle circling…looking for breakfast.01f - Early Morning Walk - Osprey Overhead01g - Early Morning Walk - Bald Eagle Overhead
Most of the other birds and animals were no where to be found;o((
Before heading back to the campground, we walked over to the boat launch area.
There we saw this Great Blue Heron catch a VERY large breakfast!!01e - Early Morning Walk - Great Blue Heron got his breakfast
We spent the rest of the morning doing some inside chores. After lunch, we decided to hike the Boylston Nature Trail and the Tree Canopy Walk.  That turned out to be a good decision as there was NO ONE there because of the cold weather.  It is usually one of the busiest places in the park:o))

02 - Nature and Canopy Walk - Trail Sign
We did just as the sign said…
           we walked quietly while looking and listening...          
 02b - Nature and Canopy Walk - Trail02c - Nature and Canopy Walk - What does Bill see
We were rewarded with this BEAUTIFUL site…
The Roseate Spoonbills:o))02d - Nature and Canopy Walk - We found the Spoonbills02e - Nature and Canopy Walk - We found the Spoonbills
After we finished the short nature trail,
we arrived at the Tree Canopy Walk.
 03 - Tree Canopy Walkway 03b - Tree Canopy Walkway

Here is a description of the Canopy Walkway from the state park web site:

The Myakka Canopy Walkway provides easy access to observe life in the treetops of an oak/palm hammock. As an outdoor laboratory for research and education, it is a place for discovery and opportunity for visitors to Myakka to see its canopy inhabitants up close. Completed in 2000, the structure was the first public treetop trail in North America.
The walkway is suspended 25 feet above the ground and extends 100 feet through the hammock canopy. A tower soars 74 feet in the air to present a spectacular view of treetops, wetlands and the prairie/hammock interface. You can look down on eagles, hawks, vultures and the tops of live oaks and palm trees.  Click HERE for more information about this interesting structure.

Without Bill saying a word…

I knew I would be exploring the Canopy Walk alone;o))

The Walkway through the trees!!                           Bill is very happy 25ft below:o)03c - Tree Canopy Walkway through the tree branches  03d - Tree Canopy Walkway looking down at Bill

View from the top of the Canopy Tower above the tree tops!!!03g - Tree Canopy Tower looking down on tops of trees  03g2 - Tree Canopy Tower looking down on tops of trees

View of Happy Bill on solid ground, 75ft below:o))
 03f - Tree Canopy Tower looking down from top


Wednesday - January 8 , 2014

Just Doing The Chilly Weather Chill;o))

Today we did wait till mid morning to get out and about. 

Once it warmed enough, we decided to walk the park road to Palmetto Ridge Campground.  It is about 3 miles from our campground, Big Flats.  That would make for a nice, leisurely 6 mile round-trip walk.  
                                                           00b - Myakka River SP Map

We have friends, Sherry and David, who arrived yesterday at Palmetto Ridge Campground.  Today is David’s Birthday, so part of our motivation for this walk was to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Heading down the main park road, we saw many deer hanging out in the trees!!00a- Walking the Main Park Road  00a2- Walking the Main Park Road

When we got to the bridge, we saw a beautiful Great White Egret!!00b- Walking the Main Park Road

Right before our very eyes….

the egret turned into a lamp;o))
00c- Walking the Main Park Road

About 3 miles from where we started,

we reached the Palmetto Ridge Campground.00d- Walking the Main Park Road

Palmetto Ridge CG is the newest and most modern campground at Myakka. 

It has large sites, full hookups, nice bath houses and laundry facilities.

00d2- Walking the Main Park Road  00e- Walking the Main Park Road

When we visited Myakka a couple years ago, Palmetto Ridge had just been completed.  Of course, building the campground required removal of much of the vegetation and it looked like a parking lot.  That’s why we preferred Big Flats CG which is smaller and more canopied with trees.  However, in two years, the trees and vegetation have really made a come back and the sites have a lot more privacy and character.  We probably would give this campground a try next visit:o)

We found Sherry and David’s site, but no one was home;o((  We didn’t have anything to write with to leave David a Happy Birthday greeting.  We were going to write Happy Birthday in stones.  However, that took way to many stones so “Hi” would have to do;o))

00f- Walking the Main Park Road  00g- Walking the Main Park Road

Once back at our Campsite, we got a call from Sherry.  They had been out out celebrating many of David’s favorite things.  They still needed to finish the celebration with David’s Birthday Cake and invited us to share in the fun!!  Check out David’s special birthday celebration by clicking here!!


05 - David and his beer

Friday - January 10 , 2014

Did Someone Say,  “ALLIGATORS!!!”

We really love Myakka State Park!  There is so much wildlife and many wonderful hiking trails that we knew we would return.  But one of the main reason we returned was to hike to Deep Hole and actually find it.  A couple years ago, we attempted to hike to Deep Hole, but never found it;o((

Not much is known about Deep Hole.  I found the following on the internet…

There’s a mysterious off-the-beaten-path area in Myakka River State Park where alligators like to congregate. Park Rangers and guides say that though their numbers fluctuate greatly, they have counted as many as 120 in one viewing. It’s a place in the park's nature preserve called “Deep Hole” and researchers do not yet understand why it attracts the gators like candy. The “Deep Hole” has been estimated at about 200 feet hide and 142 feet deep, but no one knows for sure the real depth. Apparently no one wants to go diving, with all those alligators around, to find out the true depth. Access to the “Deep Hole” is restricted to no more than 30 humans a day and it requires a special permit for boaters and hikers. You can feel safe though, because “Deep Hole” is not someplace you’ll accidentally stumble across in your exploration of Myakka State Park. It’s within a 7,500 acre park area designated as a wilderness preserve.


David and Sherry were with us on the last hike and decided to go with us again!! 

Since Sherry has already done a wonderful blog on our spectacular day,

I’ll just share the link to her post… Thanks Sherry!!!

I took over 300 photos which I managed to narrowed down to about 100 ;o))

Below are a few of my favorite photos of this amazing wildlife adventure!!!

Click On Any Photo to Enlarge

01 - The Trail  02 - Eagle along the Trail

03 - approaching Deep Hole  04 - OK Guys, Close Enough

04b - As close as we get

04b2 - As close as we get04c - all shapes and sizes

05 - Fish Kill05b - Fish Kill - Crab05c - Turkey Vulture cleaning up the mess

06 - Pair of White Pelicans on Lower Myakka River06b - Eagle on Lower Myakka River06c - Wood Storks at Deep Pond

9b - Closeup09 - Sherry photographs the gators

10 - Flock of Pelicans  10b - Flock of Pelicans

11 - On the move11b - Which way are we going11c - Always Smiling

12 - Five Eagles in same tree  12 - Unhappy Vultures

Nature Is Amazing!!

13 - Amazing

Saturday - January 11 , 2014

Hiking the River Trail

Today is our last day at Myakka SP.  Tomorrow, we move to Lazydays in Tampa.  We decided to do a short hike in the afternoon as it got warmer.  The River Hike is just a little more than a mile but there was still plenty to see.

The River Hike starts at the State Park Road and winds through the canopy to the river.01 - River Walk Map
02 - Heading down the trail03 - Approaching the Myakka River


When we reach the river,

we saw an Osprey and a Caspian Tern circling overhead.

04 - Osprey over the river  04b - Caspian Tern

In the water, we saw a VERY large Water Moccasin :o((  
   05b - Water Moccasin05 - Water Moccasin

Up in this palm was a beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk:o))06 - Red Shoulder Hawk


Along the river, we saw a Limpkin and a large & a small Alligator!!

06b - Limpkin

07 - Big Alligator     07b - Little Big Alligator


It was a BEAUTIFUL walk along a BEAUTIFUL river in a BEAUTIFUL park!!!

08 - view down river

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