Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hillsborough River

Rising out of the Green Swamp west of Orlando, the
Hillsborough River flows 55 miles west, through Pasco
and Hillsborough County, emptying into Hillsborough
Bay, part of Tampa Bay. If you have ever drank City
of Tampa water, you have tasted the Hillsborough
River. Even if you have never been to Florida, you may
have drank Hillsborough River water. Zeypherhills
Spring water comes from Crystal Spring. It is one of my favorite paddles. Diverse and plentiful birds. Numerous alligators. Deer, otters, wild hogs. All this 10 miles from downtown Tampa I put in at Trout Creek Park at 1:30. This is one of 4 parks along a long stretch of the River,
designated as "Wilderness Park". A cooperative
venture among the US Army Corps of Engineers, who maintain
water control structures near I-75 to prevent flooding
in urban Tampa, the Southwest Florida Water Management
District, the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County,
protects 17,000 acres of land along the River. The
Parks within Wilderness Park provide facilities: small
boat ramps, plumbing, trails, ect. My usual route is upstream from Trout Creek, four miles to Morris Bridge Park, another 4 miles to Sargeant Park, and back. I did not have time for that today. My plan was to go upstream for two hours and turn around. I took an hour twenty to reach Morris Bridge, then paddled another 40 minutes, until 3:30, before reversing course.

A beautiful afternoon. Blue sky, low seventies, little wind. A group of five boats landed just as I launched. I saw maybe another 8 the rest of the afternoon. Here is one of the 10 gators viewed. In warmer months, the gator count is 3 to 4 times 10.

Bird sampler. Tri colored heron, Great Blue Heron, anhinga, black crowned night heron, green heron, limpkin, blue heron, Great Egret.

That's a woodstork amongst the ibis in the dead tree. Also seen, snowy egrets, red shoulder hawks, belted kingfishers, and vultures, lots of vultures. Road kill must disappear quickly in the area. I hoped to see some roseate spoonbills, but did not spy any. I have seen them several times before on the Hillsborough. The only mammals spotted were squirrels
Plenty of sunning turtles.

On the way home, I filled up the car the "Flying J Travel Plaza". Located on I-4 , the first exit (#10) east of the junction with I-75. Best price for gas around, $3.03, with a penny off with a "Loyalty Card" . That's not why I'm writing about it.
The best thing about "Flying J".

Johnsonville brats for a buck sixty-nine.

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