Jonathan Dickinson State Park

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One of many hiking trails in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

As we work our way back up to Central Florida from the Keys we have decided to spend a couple of days in a state park that we haven’t been to before that happens to be on our route home.  It is very large, approximately 12,000 acres and has two different camping areas, equestrian trials & horses available for trailriding,  off-road bicycle trails, hiking trails and the Loxahatchee River.

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Osprey with chick peering out of nest

Again we wish we had our tandem bicycle with us, for there are miles and miles of beautiful winding paved and unpaved paths for bicycling.   Instead we went hiking & climbed the highest point in South Florida (a whopping 86 ft above sea level, which practically makes it a mountain).     Spring is in the air and the osprey’s are feeding their babies in large nests situated along the trails and river.

In the afternoon we decided to go full tourist mode and opted for a scenic boat ride up the Loxahatchee River to the old Trapper Nelson homestead site.   Trapper Nelson, aka ‘The Wild Man of Loxahatchee’  was an eccentric fur trapper with a botanical garden and zoo.  It’s an interesting site that now belongs to the state and a beautiful ride up the river.  It’s always fun to watch the out-of-state tourists get so excited about Florida wildlife (alligators, manatees, turtles, etc.).  We also continue to enjoy the wildlife  just as much as everybody else and love discovering these large protected areas.

The next day we met up with our friend Michael again at nearby Riverbend Park, for an afternoon of canoeing and kayaking.  The water was extremely low which made for very tricky manoeuvering in our long canoe.  Mike, of course, had no problem in his short kayak.   We even had to portage the boats over a waterfall and Mike gallantly came to the rescue of some ladies who had taken on water and were in trouble.  They thought he was our guide and were forever grateful.  It was great fun.    It was his keen eyes  that spotted the bird right overhead of us.

Barred owl

Barred owl

Not just any bird but a Barred owl.  We’ve never actually seen one, just heard them.  It was busy preening itself and ignored us completely and then eventually its wings sagged down and eyes closed and lo and behold,  it fell asleep on the branch right above us.    Quite amazing.  For some reason I thought it would pick a hole in a tree or some place less busy to rest for the day.  We watched it for about 1/2 hr and it appeared to be sleeping soundly.  It must have been a busy night.

Sleeping Barred Owl

Sleeping Barred Owl

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