Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our Tour Of Myakka River State Park

On May 2nd, we took a wonderful 4 hour “Orientation Tour” given to all Myakka River State Park volunteers!
Meet Jim Watson, our tour guide and he has been a volunteer here for years.
Jim Watson 072 Jim and his wife Lois spend several months a year as volunteers here. Lois works in the Visitor Center answering many, many, many questions by visitors!
turkey 008
First critter we saw on our orientation tour was a turkey! Warning….  most of the following images were shot through the window of a bouncing 4X4 Ford Explorer!  Not much here totally in focus!
Below is Clay Gully…. a very slow moving creek
Clay Gully
Clay Gully is also a great fishing hole as evidenced by the red plastic bobber caught up in the tree!
Many deer share their world here at Myakka River State Park which is the main reason the speed limit is 25mph here. You never know when a deer will jump out in the middle of the road! We have witnessed it many tines!
deerr 023
Jim and Chuck in the front seat as we all go “Uh Oh rain drops” on the windshield!
The rain stayed in the distance although we did get a few quick showers.
The Pickerelweed below is beautiful plant to look at but NOT a native plant to Florida.  It is prolific and quickly chokes out native plants and choking up our waterways!
pickerel weed
I thought I had captured an alligator in the background, but upon closer examination it was just a neat old log!
Another deer enjoying the wild side of Florida! New antlers are just beginning to show on this guy!
deer 078
One of our  stops was at the Sweetmeadow Pastures ranch site. The original pioneer family of ranching lived here, laughed here, worked here and loved here long before “here” became a state park.
Chuck and Jim Meadowsweet
Bertha Palmer was enticed by the lush wetlands and a vast grassy prairie land. In 1910 she built her 19,000 acre ranch along the banks of the Myakka River. Mrs. Palmer was innovative in her approach to ranching. Over her short 8 year tenure, she introduced Brahma bulls improving her spindly Florida herd. she also built dipping vats to combat tick fever. She also fenced in her land, all unheard of customs in her day!Meadowsweet sign
This is one of her dipping vats.  You would walk the cattle in at one end, through the dip potion and out the other end.
cow dip

cattle dip 068
cattle dip 066
Can you even imagine walking 100’s of cattle through these vats???

I am sure you all have heard of saw palmetto, the herb to help men’s prostrate. Below is a saw palmetto and the small flowers peeking out are the medicinal part of the plant.
Saw palmetto 070
Another deer watching us pass by!
deer 055
Below is known as “deep hole”.  Alligators collect themselves here.  It is just one of the mysteries of Myakka State Park.
deep hole sign
2 gators
deep hole
Below is an Osprey perched on a branch far, far, far away which my hand held 300mm tried its best to get a good image!
osprey 097
If you enjoy camping, whether in your backyard  or in one of the many state or national parks that our beautiful America enjoys, you might love this recipe!
Waffle cones with marshmallows, chocolate chips, bananas, and strawberries. Wrap in tinfoil and throw on the fire. aaaaahmazing

Saying goodbye to our good camping volunteer friends Connie and Cecil.  Their time here is up and they head back to upper Michigan for the summer months and home gardens!
connie and cecil

DoogieBowser and Radar definitely love living the life of vagabond gypsy doggies!
Doogie and Radar em
It seems hard to believe that in 4 short weeks our time here at Myakka River State Park will be done. KaPut! Over! UNTIL we get the opportunity to return again as volunteers!  We have really enjoyed our time here and we encourage all of you consider volunteering at one of the state parks in your area!

We are lucky here at Myakka that we have such a wonderful support group, “Friends Of Myakka” pay for our uniforms, our equipment and our immediate needs at the park. Below is the fancy swamp buggy used in helping with control burns and trimming the trees with low hanging branches just waiting to snag one of the larger RV Motorhomes!
Myakka swamp buggy 004
These tires are almost as tall as I am!
Myakka swamp buggy wheels 005
We hope you enjoyed this tour of Myakka State Park and will one day get to visit this piece of Old Florida!
Florida, before the land grabbers and the land developers came and decided they had bigger and better ideas for “La Florida”  Land of flowers!
We hope you get the opportunity to come explore this “wild” piece of Florida soon!
Please leave a comment!  We like to read about your thoughts!
Happy Trails from the crew of the “MotherShip”  Chuck, Geri, DoogieBowser and Radar!

 spiritual teaching


  1. Hi guys! It was nice to meet you in Highlands Hammock this winter. I'm the guy who couldn't hear a darn thing in the old RV. Myakka is a beautiful park and glad your stay is enjoyable. Say hi to Cecil and Connie if they're still there. It's finally warming up here in Ontario! Enjoy your travels! Robert.

  2. Hi you guys from Bangor Maine ! Mild days and cool nights here yet !

  3. Hi, Geri.... WHAT A GREAT POST! I feel like I went on the tour with you and learned a lot. This post has everything... nature, campfire recipe, history, ranching, friends, two cute doggies... and great photos,, even the shaky ones.

    I can see why you and Chuck like it there. Your friends look like a lot of fun. I see your canine crew is using the exercise pen. I've wondered if it has come in handy. Gosh, what a cute pair they are!

    It wasn't until I went back to look at the post a second time that I recognized Chuck! I still think of him in his wild and wooly hair and beard.

    Thank you for your best post ever! Love you! Sue

  4. Wait a minute! I went back a 3rd time (love this post) and none of the pics are shaky. It was my computer's slow connection taking forever to get the focus. Sorry. The photos are great. :)

  5. Good post. Enjoyed reading about the park. Love the sink hole info.

  6. You sure landed in an awesome park and what a great tour. Hard to believe only 4 weeks left. Where to next?

  7. More importantly, I just saw Chuck's new summer 'do! Wow! Are you ever startled?


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