A Great Day at Myakka - Thursday - January 19, 2012

We awoke to a brisk aka cold, but beautiful morning.  Sherry and David rode their bikes from their campground, Palmetto Ridge, to our campground, Big Flats.  It is about a 2.5 mile peddle.
00 - Map of Bike Ride from Palmetto Ridge to Big Flats Campground
Palmetto Ridge (lower left) is a new campground in the State Park with full hook-ups and can accomodate any size rig.  It is near the entrance.  Big Flats (upper right) is an older and smaller campground with water and electric.  There are only a few sites at Big Flats that will fit rigs up to 35ft. Most of the sites can only accomodate smaller rigs. Both campgrounds have 50amp electric.

The four of us rode bicycles along Lake Myakka to the the North Gate.  That is about a 7 mile round trip.
00b - Map of Bike Ride to North Gate

We made a stop at the bird-walk.
Everybody was searching for the birds!!04 - Everyone hunting for the birds
Unfortunately, the wind and cold must be scaring them off. 
Yesterday, Nancy and I saw hundreds….
not so many today:o((
05 - Cold Windy and not many birds

We continued on our way and enjoyed the beautiful natural canopy over the road. 
03 - Sherry and David riding under the canopy

We crossed over Clay Gully. 
01 - Crossing Clay Gully
Think this would be a nice place to paddle sometime ;o))

We reached the North Gate...
took a break and chatted with the work-camper at the gate. 
 02 - Bill talking with Volunteer at North Gate

After a little rest, we turned around and headed back to Big Flats campground.  It finally started to warm-up:o))  It was a bit chilly riding bikes this morning. 

After our ride, we walked over to show David and Sherry the Weir that forms Lake Myakka.  As the sun warmed things up, more people and wildlife appeared!!08 - Sherry, David & Bill on the Weir

A little bit of everything;o))
04 - Alligator, Vultures, Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks

A Great Egret
05 - Great Egret

A Tricolored Heron
07 - Tricolored Heron

A Limpkin
09 - Limpkin

Least Sandpipers
10 - Least Sandpiper

The Black Vulture
11 - Black Vulture

The warm weather also filled the Air Boat to capacity!!06 - Air Boat Tour
Lake Myakka is extremely low. 
Can’t imagine how this boat does not bottom out in places!?!?!?

Before long, it was lunchtime. 
David and Sherry treated me to an Ice Cream Cone Lunch
to celebrate the purchase of our new motorhome purchase.01 - Ice Cream
We will find ANY reason to have ICE CREAM!!!!

After Lunch we biked to the Boylston Nature Trail
and Canopy Walkway & Tower.
02 - Canopy Walkway and Nature Trail Map

It is about 2 miles from our campground
Big Flats (top center) to the nature trails. 01 - Route from Campground to Nature Trail

Hi Ho, Hi Ho,
It’s off to hike we go ;o))
03 - Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to hiking we go
  04 - William S. Boylston Nature Trail Sign

We decided to hike the trail and geocache
before heading to the canopy walkway.05 - Bill and David on the nature trail

David was the one to find the cache this time!!06 - David found the geocache

We enjoyed the nature trail which ended near the
Canopy Walkway and Tower.
07 - Canopy Walk

This Canopy Walkway is one of only about a dozen world-wide!!

Click this link for more information:  Canopy Walkway

Under-side of the Canopy Walkway.07 - Canopy Walk Underneath

Heading across the walkway towards the Tower.07a - Canopy Walk - walking across

Sherry and Nancy dueling cameras!!07b - Canopy Walk - dueling cameras

View of the area from the Canopy Walkway.07c - Canopy Walk - view at the tree top level

I really don’t like heights
so I walked the 25’ high Canopy Walkway and
then went down to ground level
while the rest headed up the Tower!!07 - Canopy Walk Up we go

They raved about the views from way up there.  08b - View from the top of the tower08c - View from the top of the tower

I just enjoyed them in my mind from way down below ;o)08 - Bill waiting below as we climb the tower

After our hike,
we headed over to the State Park Memorial
where we were looking for two more geocaches.01 - Geocaching at the State Park Memorial

Sherry found this cache
at the base of the tree behind the memorial.01a - Sherry found cache at tree base

It was a micro cache, hidden in an old shell;o)01b - cache little tube in old shell
Nice find…Sherry!!

There was another cache hidden
somewhere behind this building across the street. 
 02 - Structure across street 3 went geocaching

Nancy stayed with the bikes and took some photos;o))
03 - Nancy Waiting - Pretty Canopy03b - Nancy Waiting - Cool recumbent bike03c - Nancy Waiting - Poor Butterly

The rest of us took off to find the cache.
We weren’t gone long. 
The GPS lead us down to the river and
indicated we needed to cross the river. 
It was very low and we could have crossed. 
there were several very long and very fat alligators close by. 02b - returning no cache-big alligator
Needless to say, we returned without finding the cache.

Hard to believe it is late afternoon already. What a great day with good friends.  The hours just seem to fly by when your doing things you love to do in the company of people who enjoy the same things!!

Tomorrow, we have a longer hike planned
we are looking forward to that adventure:o))

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