by Nancy Dobias
I went to Myakka River State Park to see what effect Tropical Storm Colin and all the recent rains might have had on the park. I had heard that many hiking paths were flooded but that the roads were dry. When I arrived, I could see that many were taking advantage of scenic drives or bike rides through the park and a some were even camping.
Occasionally I stopped at favorite spots to see how they were faring with the encroachment of the river and invariably the visitors to the park assumed there must be alligators in that area and they would stop too.
I used to look in the woods for alligators when I first visited a flooded Myakka but I have since started looking for them in the flooded grasslands. It’s from within those grasslands that I hear the most “welcoming” croaking when I am taking my pictures. I’m not sure if they are inviting me to come closer or if they are just saying “Hey!”
I did want to see if I could get to my favorite path along the Myakka where I see the BIG GUYS and that involved a scenic walk under some oaks. The path started out relatively dry and I was hopeful I just might be able to use that path. I even encountered a hawk family who were upset that I had interrupted naptime and Mom was screeching her disapproval for all to hear. Dad swooped down and flew off to the river. I guess he knew to “get out of Dodge” when Mom was upset.
The park benches and the picnic table that normally are somewhat removed from the river were now too close to the river for me but they did look just right for an alligator family to enjoy.
It was not looking good for my path to be dry but I continued along...ever hopeful that maybe this might be the one dry path along the Myakka.
When I got to the entrance to the path, I looked back deep into the woods....weighed the depth of the water before me....looked to the left at where the river’s bank used to be....and thought, “Hmmmmm....I’m wearing my water shoes....” Then I looked again. Do I REALLY want to be up to mid-calf while slogging through the jungle? I think you know the answer to that. Stepping off the path and into the river is one experience I do not want to have!
At least I got my exercise for the day and I did see some pretty scenery, so although the BIG GUYS were not easily spotted today, that just gives me a reason to try on another day....Hope you get to go. I think the park wears lots of faces and all of them are something to see!