SURPRISE Visitors - Friday - January 20, 2012

Today we planned to hike in the Myakka Wilderness Preserve to the Lower Myakka Lake and Deep Hole with Sherry and David.  This required us to get a permit from the park office. 

The trailhead is just a short distance east
on Hwy 72 from the State Park entrance.00a - Lower Myakka Lake Hike Map

Here’s a closer view of our destination,
Lower Myakka Lake and the Deep Hole.00b - Lower Myakka Lake Hike Map Close up of Blue Hole

A little background about Deep Hole: 
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. . The “Deep Hole” has been estimated at about 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. . It’s within a 7,500 acre park area designated as a wilderness preserve.

We met David and Sherry at 10am sharp.01 - Sherry and David's Campsite
Sherry and David’s site at Palmetto Ridge Campground.

From here we drove to the Park Office to get our permit. 

Just as we completed our paperwork for the hike, I noticed a missed call on my cell phone.  I looked up and saw Gin and Syl driving in the gate.  What a surprise!!  We talked them into going on the hike with us ;o))

We waited while they got their permit.01b - All Cars ready to go

The hike was on a sandy road with very few trees.02 - David and Bill - Friends on the Trail

As the temperature rose to 80 degrees,
it became a very warm walk and we saw very little wildlife.02a - Open Palm Fields, not much shade

However, David kept a very keen eye out for the wildlife
got really excited when he found some!!02b - 'SO Excited' David

Thanks David for pointing IT out to us;o))02b2 - David found some wildlife
(Don’t forget, click on any photo to enlarge;o)))

We did find a shady spot just before we got to
Lower Lake Myakka and stopped for a rest.02c - Break in the Shade

Finally, the lake came in to view.

Sandhill Cranes
 05 - Wildlife - Sandhill Cranes in Lake

Sandhill Cranes taking off.
05b - Wildlife - Sandhill Cranes Flying

These Swamp Sparrows are very inquisitive and
will let you get very close before they take off.05c - Wildlife - Swamp Sparrow

White Pelicans in the distance.
05d - White Pelicans on Lower Lake Myakka

White Pelicans overhead
05d2 - White Pelicans flying overhead

Great Egrets in the middle of the lake. 
Gives you some idea of just how low the water levels are.05e - Great Egrets on Lower Lake Myakka

Feral Pigs across the lake.
05f2 - Feral Pigs and vultures across Lower Lake Myakka

You never have to look far to find a Vulture!!05g - Black Vulture on Lower Lake Myakka

We found a shady spot for lunch.
06a - Lunch Time

Since it was just getting hotter,
we did not go any further in search of the Deep Hole. 

Instead, we headed back towards the trailhead. 
7 - Heading back towards the cars

The six mile walk would have been pretty boring
 if it had not been for the great company and
many funny stories along the way!! 
We always have a great time together.

Of course, there was another good reason to head back…

Ice Cream Cones for Syl , Sherry and myself :o))08 - Cones for Syl and Sherry

Microbrew for David :o))
08b - Microbrew for David

The BIG Banana Split for Gin!!
08c - The BIG reward for Gin

We spent a little more time together…
had a few more laughs…
then parted ways with hugs
“see you down the road!!” 

Gin and Syl were returning to Lazydays to finish taking delivery of their new Motorhome.  Sherry and David are staying here another couple of days and we are heading to Rainbow Springs in the morning.

Another wonderful day with GREAT friends!!!


  1. Looks like a great time was had by all (imagine that!)!! The ice cream (especially the nana split) looks yummy!

  2. Another great day with great friends! So glad we timed that just right at the park gate. A minute or two later and we would have missed you.