I kayaked the Hillsborough River today, Saturday, June 20, 2009. Happy B.D., Bill C.
After being up at 5 am last Saturday for the canceled Shuttle launch, then going to Cali, I slept in a bit for a Saturday, getting in the River at 9:30. I have never seen the Trout Creek Park launch so crowded. In fact, it was full, cars were parked on the grass near the dirt parking lot. Lucky for me, one car left, so I got a space close to the slope leading to the River.
The Hillsborough is dark and deep. Seems the May and June rain has hit Tampa, as well as Orlando. No problem getting past the Natures Classroom shallows.
I was well on my way before I encountered fellow paddlers. Perhaps, 10,12 before I arrived at Morris Bridge. 3 alligators, no photos. The osprey is the only photo I took for ninety minutes,until I was past Morris Bridge. Usually, I stop at an over look upstream of Morris Bridge Park. However, as I passed the Park, 3 chatty paddler came out. I passed them, and decided, if I stopped, I'd have to pass them again, so I kept going. Turtle, cormorant, blue hereon seen in a 3 minute span just after 11 o'clock.
Limpkin, great blue, black crowned night heron. Just after these pics, I had a very close gator encounter. Paddling along the left bank, in shallow water, I startled an alligator that had been resting on the bottom. I think if my left blade were in the water, instead of in the air, I would have hit it as it arched its spiky back, hurriedly swimming away.
I reached the confluence of the Hillsborogh and Flint Rivers, at John Sargeant Park. I continued paddling up the Hillsborough, until a downed log blocked passage. On this portion of the Hillsborough, fallen trees are not removed. I missed a great gator photo, sunning on another log.
Landed at Sargeant Park, had lunch. Saw the Canoe Escape bus leave. Figured I'd make my escape before the next load came back. I did, but first went up the Flint until a log blocked my passage. Coming back past the canal leading to the landing, a group was coming out. Several of them headed up the Flint, first. I eventually passed the others. The herons were where I left them.
Saw more gators, but no photo opportunities. Turtle pic.
For the first time in a while, I stopped at Morris Bridge Park. It has a nice boardwalk around an island. It was good the stretch my legs.
The boardwalk at Morris Bridge is the longest at the three parks I visit while yaking the Hillsborough, Trout Creek, Morris Bridge, and John Sargeant. As I've reported before, the parks are space about 4 miles apart. A perfect distance to take a break, walk, use the restroom. At the restroom, I saw a flyer. There is a proposal to close the parks two days a week, and shorten the hours on the remaining five days. I you live in Hillsborough County, hearings for the fiscal year budget, in effect October, 2009 will he held July 16, 2009, September 9, 2009, and September 17, 2009. Contact info. firstname.lastname@example.org Call: (813) 307-8337. Attend: BOCC BOARD ROOM, 601 Kennedy Boulevard, County Center at 6 pm.
Makes me question my "yes" vote on the property tax cut amendment last year. My rationale was lower rates would improve the real estate market. Shame on me for thinking like a Republican. Speaking of reptiles, I finally got my alligator pics after departing Morris Bridge.
Not sure if this was the same osprey I saw at the start of the day.
One bird I did not see, which I usually do on the Hillsborough, rosette spoonbill.
Upon arrival at Trout Creek Park, I headed up Trout Creek. A greenish film covers much of the Creek.
I passed the big turtle above, than saw a large gator, half submerged in the slime. Kinda neat when it sensed me, dove down, not cutting a path, as I was in the kayak.
Out of the Creek, I headed down River on a futile spoonbill search. Through the flood gates and to I-75 and beyond.
I landed at six a nine and a half hour day. The high in Thonotosassa, FL was 96. No wonder my shirt was soaked. I wonder if I the red skin on my tail bone was the result of 9 hours in the yak, or the drive home without changing.