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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Venice Diaries IX

A day in the Myakka River State Park was spent in seeing
and exploring primitive Florida. Situated just east of
Sarasota, it features a "wild and scenic river, wetlands,
prairies, hammocks, and pinelands." We might call them
savannas and jungle.

In the first series of photos (see link below) we are on a
nature trail through a dense forest of palms. They are huge,
compared to those in commercial areas. Then we ascended
a "canopy walk," giving us a picture of the density of the
forest, and a view of its extent. Apparently, that's what
Florida looked like centuries ago. No wonder the Seminoles
were never defeated by the white man.

Then a visit to the usual commercialized visitors area where
we had a surprisingly good lunch of fresh, local grown
ingredients. Having seen the land close up, we opted for
the ride around Lake Myakka in a large air boat. Like those
that tour the Everglades, it has a very shallow draft and is
propelled by a huge air propeller in the stern.

The lake is very shallow; one could walk across it. Not a
good idea, as an estimated 1500 to 2000 alligators, large
and small, populate its waters. You may see some of them
in the photos, forming an escort to our boat. Surprisingly,
people paddle rented canoes and kayaks all around the lake,
right alongside the alligators. I guess they are careful not
to tip over.

There were some flocks of birds near the dam. We walked
out to see them, but my photos do not illustrate them well
enough. Not being a birder, nor having Peterson with me,
I can only recognize the egret, the roseated spoonbill, the
white pelican, and the black vulture. There is supposedly
a better spot for bird-watching, but by that time we were
surfeited with nature and wildlife. In the last two photos,
we look like we are ready to depart!


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