FLORIDA TRIP - What A Kayak Trip!! - Saturday, January 15, 2011

With camera and binoculars in hand, Nancy and I went for a long walk early this morning.
We hiked the Wetlands Trail
We were hoping to spot some deer along the way. No luck seeing Bambi, but we saw many birds and squirrels.

As we were finishing our walk, 5 or 6 busloads of high school and college kids arrived at the park. They volunteer to do clean-up work for extra credit for some course they are taking. Add to that fact that it is Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and the park is very busy…not nice and quiet like it has been all week.

We never got back to the Van until 11am, so we decided to eat breakfast as lunch. Then we would take the Sea Eagle for a nice paddle down the Hillsborough River. It was plenty warm enough for shorts—finally! We drove the Tahoe over behind site 33 where there was an easy accessible kayak and canoe launch area.
Launch prep area behinds site 33

Within 15 minutes we had the “Serenity Now” blown up and ready to go. Good friends suggested that name for our kayak. We felt it was a perfect name for the types of trips we take—slow and easy.

Leaving the Launch Area

What a kayak trip it was!! We paddled to Dead River County Park, about a mile or so downstream where we turned around and paddled back. It is the perfect trip for beginners like us. There were a few tight navigation areas between rocks and trees. At one point, we managed to get stuck on some rocks, but learned how to get off as well. There was basically no current in either direction, so we were able to just relax and enjoy the surroundings.
(Click to Enlarge any of the photos.)

Tricky Navigation got stuck on rocks here

Favorite picture of the River

Dead River County Park - turn around point for us

The two hour trip was filled with scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. We saw quite a few alligators. One looked to be 12-14 feet long. Needless to say, we kept our distance as we are in a “BLOW-UP” boat. Actually, the gators didn’t seem too interested in anything but warming up in the sun!

First alligator we saw - just a little one!

The BIGGEST alligator is on the bank behind this wading bird.  We were very happy there was 'food' between us and this BIG fellow!

Here's 'Big Daddy'....WOW!!!

This Alligator was hiding in the greens.

Gator warming on a log.

Nancy took tons of pictures. Half of the time was spent with our paddles out of the water just enjoying the sounds of nature: turtles splashing off the logs, gators sliding off the banks, woodpeckers pecking away, squirrels running through the leaves and the silence—all great nature sounds. It was Mother Nature at her finest!!

  Approaching the Campground Takeout Area

Alls well that ends well....WOW what a paddle!!

Our last full day here at Hillsborough River was special indeed. I am so glad we kayaked today. We have done everything we wanted to do this week: biked, hiked, kayaked, attended the RV Supershow and met with the RV-Dreams folks. A great week!!

Tomorrow it is off to Collier-Seminole State Park in the Western Everglades. We are loving this TRIP!!


  1. I do not know what happend, but all but a few pictures will not enlarge...sorry about that. Not sure how to fix it other than deleting and reinserting them...UGH!! Maybe tomorrow ;o(

  2. We can't wait until the rally when we'll be able to take the Sea Eagle out again. No frozen lake kayaking for us up here!

    Your pictures look great!

  3. Ok....I reinserted the photos now if you click on 'Big Daddy' you can see him up close and personal!! Wish I knew what caused the problem in the first place ???

  4. Sorry to hear about your blogger troubles Nancy. I've definitely been down that road. This looks like a FABULOUS day you had. Such wonderful pictures. I am so glad you are out there doing exactly what I would be doing so I can tag along. I'm sure putting this park on my Florida list. There are SO many places to go and natural areas to experience in Florida. I had no idea. Keep em' comin' I look forward to your blog every day.

  5. I love your river photos. Just beautiful. I'm a bit afraid of the water, but would love to have a kayak (with a buddy along for company). This beginner's trip looks perfect. I don't know about the alligators, though.

  6. Amazing pictures and it looked like an amazing paddle! I bet that was a little freaky being so close to the gators with that inflatable boat! Glad they weren't hungry and interested in you :)

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  7. Love the gator pics. All of it helps those of us who are dealing with winter remember that warm weather is on the way.