When you live in Florida, every weekend is a vacation opportunity. After a long work week, resetting my clock is a priority; so grabbing the camera and heading for someplace new and beautiful is at the top of my list. Our plan was to return to Blue Spring State Park to see the Manatee; but it has been warm and they were not in the Spring. Hey, Blue Spring State Park, it’s really not cool to sit there sucking in everyone’s money to get in the park after waiting in sometimes long lines and then not telling them there will be no manatee to visit that day……but I digress. We enjoyed our 6 bucks worth of natural beauty and lowered expectation and rechecked our Saturday strategy.
We did a quick net search on other parks in the area for somewhere we hadn’t visited. A few friends had mentioned Hontoon Island State Park, and up to that point we had not visited. When we read that it was only 15 min away, off we went. Once there, we took a short (and free!) ferry ride across the narrow portion of the St. John’s River separating the mainland from the little island preserve and we were there. We decided on the “short” hike; but of course these terms are always relative, and it was long enough walk for a husband with a bad knee. Still, the trails were wide, flat, well cleared and marked; and the weather was breezy and nice under the shade of the palm, oaks and pine. The park includes campgrounds, cabins, picnic areas and a playground as well as tourist information and snack and drink concessions. We saw birds, flowers and other small wonders. I must admit I was quite happy to NOT see the black bear someone had recently reported seeing on the island, especially since there was no shortage of constantly circling vultures overhead that kept us moving. HA.
What I am sharing with you now are just a few photos from our walk. This was just what I needed to renew my spirit after a very draining and in many ways, discouraging, week. Mother Nature never lets me down. We finished the day off with a wonderful Thai dinner at our newest favorite restaurant.