Monday, March 27, 2017

#39 - Monday, 27 March 2017 - Kissimmee Prairie Preserve S.P., Florida

Greetings once again from the spot you're probably going to think is my favorite on Earth. It isn't. No place in Florida would rank very high. But this surely is my favorite area of Florida. The place is deserted. I am one of only four occupied campsites a month the 16 or 17 available in the equestrian campground. They had a big event here on Saturday and apparently everyone left first thing Sunday. There are still about a half dozen sites taken in the Astronomy Pad area and perhaps a dozen more campers in the family campground, but it is very peaceful here in the horse area. I can't see the other two occupied campsites and the one I can is two sites away and on the end.

My office as I type this for y'all
I just returned from a trail that cuts through a couple of deep ponds connected by a culvert with four big pipes and there must have been close to fifty alligators ranging in size from five to eleven feet in the area. I photographed some of them along with feeding great blue herons and great white egrets. I then drove out the park toward the spot where a caracara is often seen and captured some images of one perched there scanning the surrounding prairie for carrion. As I've mentioned before, the northern crested caracara is a type of falcon, but it has the feeding habits of a vulture. When I drove back to camp for lunch and to write this blog entry, a group of wild turkey was foraging around my Wheelhouse. I had seen a few hens and an immature male during my morning coffee, but now there was a larger group including a tom. They meandered off to leave me with my sardines, tuna and crackers.

I'm camped here until Friday, which is the last day of March. It is peaceful and without the hordes of savage mosquitoes that plagued my Everglades hiking. I sit at this picnic table as a gentle breeze keeps me cool as the temperature of the partly sunny day hovers around 27ºC/81ºF. I have no plan for Friday morning, but likely will pretty much go full speed ahead north and get out of Florida before I linger here any longer. I can't just stop every interesting place or I'll spend a year in one state. Texas is calling my name and I'd like to be able to visit Dr. Brent Hendrixson in Jackson, Mississippi along the way. Still, that's a bit farther north than I want to go and my goal will be to get across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and shunpike on back highways into Texas avoiding Houston. I'll probably head up toward Austin before heading south to follow the Rio Grande towards Big Bend National Park. Texas has two national parks on the list, but I'll spend an extended amount of time in the Big Bend region before finally heading into New Mexico. 

Cheers, M

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