Nature Calls!

It was time to go out and enjoy the Natural Florida.

Work is definitely interfering with my blog writing! It was much easier to write (okay, type) when I was furloughed versus working 9+ hours daily, which doesn’t include the 40+minute drive to and and the 40+ minute drive from work. I am thankful I have a job and was called back. But…………I can’t wait until retirement! This little taste of staying home whetted my appetite for the next leg of life’s journey.

Florida is more than theme parks and beaches – I know, I know, hard to believe. We have a lot of ‘nature’ to observe in this state. The north shore of Lake Apopka was 21 miles or almost a 35 minute drive on a Sunday morning from our home.

It had been written up in the local paper over the weekend, so we weren’t the only ones that had this idea.

This is a one-way, 11 mile drive around the north shore of Lake Apopka, Florida’s 4th largest lake at 50,000 acres. It is a restoration project from when in 1941, 20,000 acres were separated by a levee and the land drained for muck farming. In 1996 the Florida Legislature began to fund buying back the agriculture lands and restoring the lake.

They have an audio tour, along with a paper guide to share highlights as you’re traveling -safely- in your air-conditioned vehicle.

The levee mentioned above was the road we followed. The shot below gives you an idea of the vastness of the land.

Really, the first animal we saw was one from the dinosaur age – an alligator.

Then we saw another alligator.

Yep, the gators were definitely putting on a show. This one was slowly swimming through the plant life looking for his next meal.

It was kind of a game – who could spot them first.

There may have possibly been direction given to ‘back up’ if we thought we spotted one.

This guy ducked under the water before I could get a photo. You can see him along the edge of the water, near the cattails. He was one of the smaller ones.

Very important to stay inside your vehicle.

There was other wildlife seen during our drive – like these Great Blue Herons.

Odd, I always seemed to get the same head angle in my shots.

This structure used to be a pump house draining excess water from the farmlands.

I don’t know who would want to fish, but apparently some have tried, hence the signs.

We came across these weather instruments gathering data on the other side of the pump house. This view of Lake Apopka is part of the original 50,000 acres.

And, I couldn’t resist a shot of this flowering Mallow bush.

Just in case people would forget…………………big brother was watching.

You could spend 1-2 hours, slowly driving the road, searching for gators and gathering a few photos. I read that the ‘birders’ LOVE this place in the winter for spotting species and taking counts. That’s not my ‘thing’ but we did enjoy the drive.

We’ll be back a different time of the year when having the windows down provides a nice cooling breeze, instead of a desire to turn up the AC.

Ginny

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