Sleeping Turtles Need to Bed Down Elsewhere

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Sleeping Turtles Preserve North

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

September 2, 2017

 

Because I have been wondering where the alligators go when their stomping ground becomes too flooded to bask in the sunshine of Myakka River State Park,  I thought maybe they could have cruised southward...down to Sleeping Turtle Preserve in Venice.  "Would the alligators be languishing on the banks there?"  I wondered.   I also wanted to check out the flood gauge that I have seen in this park.   In the past, I had photographed this gauge and I wanted to find out if this is the gauge whose walkway will flood when the river reaches 10.6 feet....  The gauge shows the height of some past floods and it's impressive to consider that this gauge is erected back away from the river, already above the steep bank of the river.  Those would have been some floods....  "Would the flood of 2017 now be forever memorialized on this stake?" I wondered....

To prepare for my Sleeping Turtle excursion, I put on my water sandals, just in case the park might have some wet areas.  I also determined I was not going to get "lost" this time.  The park is well-marked but I am directionally challenged.  To keep from being "lost," I try to keep the river on my right when I am going out and then attempt to resist all the tantalizing intersecting trails that seem to always be calling my name....

I need not have worried about getting lost though.  As soon as I pulled into Sleeping Turtle Preserve, it became evident I was going no farther than the main gate.  The parking lot was closed off.  The waters of the Myakka lay claim to Sleeping Turtle Preserve as well....

As I looked at the non-existent parking lot, I could not fathom what the trail to the flood gauge must look like.... 

Although I could have waded into this lot to check out at least part of the park, my experience with the underwater ATTACKING ants at Myakka River State Park swayed me away from further contemplation of that idea.  I also didn't know if the alligators that might have found their way here would really be sleeping....

As it was, my Sleeping Turtle excursion was a bust.  I saw no vacationing alligators.  I did not see the flood gauge.  On the plus side, however, I did not get lost....AND I saw some pretty scenery!