Hot, crowded and cramped were the adjectives that I used to describe our arrival on a Sunday afternoon. Now, with the weekend sightseers gone, magical is a more appropriate description. Myakka River State Park is located east of Sarasota, 8 miles west of I-75, and it is one of the oldest and largest state parks in Florida. A nature lover’s dream park with biking, hiking, kayaking, birding and fishing.
The Myakka River winds through the middle of the park for 17 miles. The river (which looks like a creek to this southerner) is full of alligators and birds. It’s surrounded by a prairie of grasses, ancient live oaks, palm trees and Spanish moss. There are 3 small campgrounds and we landed in Big Flats, located in the middle of the park.
A short path takes us from camp to the lake and the busy area of the Myakka Outpost which sports a gift shop, kayak rentals and a boat tour.
Site 21 Big Flat cg
Time to paddle
The Myakka was calling us! Excited, we got an early start and put on the river before 9 AM. It was decided to paddle upstream as far as we could and relax on the return trip. Neither of us knew what to expect…except alligators and birds. The still water reflecting the blue sky and the old oaks astonished us at every turn.
As we traveled upstream the river would narrow, the banks closing in on us, and then it would stretch out widening like a small lake. In one of the narrow channels, an alligator floated in the center with only his midsection above water. Sending my brave husband to go first, I followed, paddling as hard as I could! I expect alligators to sink down under the water when humans approach….this guy knew he was king of the river and we were trespassing.
Saw lots of birds….I was hoping for a roseate spoonbill as they inhabit the park but just the usual ospreys, herons and egrets were seen.
The lack of a reliable internet signal got me depressed yesterday. Went into some kind of a funky mood, feeling lost and cut off from those I care about. Woke in the middle of the night, turned on the cell and had a solid signal from 1 to 3 AM! Got caught up on my favorite blogs, news, weather reports for the different cities I follow and Facebook. Woke up happy this morning!
I wanted to see the ocean again so we took off this afternoon for Turtle Beach, a very small beach just south of Siesta Key. It’s hot so I took my bathing suit. After the first wave hit my ankles I realized why no one was in the water. Still had a great time walking on the sand and looking at the waves.
Found a great kayak launch just across from Turtle Beach. We could put in and travel up the intercostal waterway!
A cold front is coming tomorrow and the highs will be 15 degrees lower! I am secretly looking forward to a little cooler weather…say around 70.
We have just a few more days here…not sure where we are heading next.