Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Travels with Sasha Day 11

January 30 

Andrea and Lance take me to Homosassa Springs Wild Life State Park. It’s a nice ride out past Crystal Springs and it feels good to not be doing the driving. We first explore an old sugar mill ruins. I do love gears and wheels.  

We drive over to the park to wander the boardwalks. The birds are amazing! There is even a hippopotamus. Both Andrea and I take lots of photos and they both explain some of the different aspects of this area as this is one of their favorite places to visit. I am intrigued by the  brown pelicans, plus there are storks, egrets, herons, swans, and more. Black vultures are everywhere; overhead in the trees and on the ground. 

What’s great about this place is that some are in cages, some are being rehabilitated (the park takes very good care of its responsibilities), and wild birds also fly in to enjoy the benefits. The flamingos are amazing. I take pictures of all I can: various types of owls, hawks, a bald eagle, and there is a large, wire-topped fenced in area with many smaller water birds. 

The boardwalk meanders around and on the other side are pens with a black bear, Florida panther, and bobcats. All these areas are clean and the animals have plenty of room to move around. They certainly look very well cared-for.  

It’s feeding time at the manatee area, but there are too many people. I don’t care about seeing the creatures being fed anyway, so we continue along and see a pod of wild manatee in the river. Lance explains that the manatees come upriver when the waters in the ocean or gulf get too cold. Unfortunately, there is just enough of a breeze to cause ripples making it impossible to get photos of these gentle giants.  

We follow along the river. There a submersed 180 degree observation room was put in at the end of a small dock just above a hot spring. There are about a dozen steps down and I walk around taking pictures from every window. Hundreds of fish swim around and around because of the warm water bubbling up from the natural spring. I even catch a cormorant diving after the fish. What a sight to see from below the surface as all the fish scatter. They quickly return, though, to swim round and round.

Back up top, a manatee swims by and I am able to get photos. However, by this time, my feet, back, and legs are screaming. We’ve been out here exactly two hours! I hobble back to the Tahoe. Still, this place is amazing and I’m so glad to have come. 

We go to Crackers Bar and Grille in Crystal Springs right on King’s Bay and eat outside. The chairs are really tall and tip easily. Lance has to hold the back of the chair so I can get up into it. The food is very good and big portions. It’s hard to eat it all and I only have a burger and fries. Afterwards I hobble down on the dock to take pictures. It’s so beautiful. 

Lance tells me that the term “crackers” comes from the first cattle farmers in Florida. At the time, the cattle were left by the Spaniards and were wild. The cattle farmers used huge bull whips to drive the critters and it was the loud “crack” of the bullwhip which earned those farmers the name. 

This area of Florida is nothing like the east coast! It’s gorgeous and quiet here. I’m not saying it’s perfect. There are still those who have less than others. Another great aspect is the fresh fruit and vegetables that are available all the time. 

We get back to the house. I know I should go to McDonalds for their internet service. I haven’t even started the week’s work yet. But I’m too tired. I’m just going to have to put in a full day tomorrow. We sit out on the patio until the sun goes down and it gets cold. Andrea and I go to our respective rooms to read. She’s an avid reader and has leant me “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It’s wonderful.


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