Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hillsborough River

I like driving to Tampa early on Saturday mornings.  Get to listen to the Bluegrass show on WMNF.  A song called "Milwaukee Blues" was playing as I drove into Trout Creek Park.  The only song that I knew of with "Milwaukee" in the title is "Milwaukee Truckin' Blues" by the Climax Blues Band.  Now I know of  two.  Through the magic of the internet, here is Milwaukee Blues
One car in the river lot when I arrived just before 9. I say "river lot" to distinguish it from the lot where bikers, hikers, fishermen and picnicers park. Construction in progress. What appears to be a handicap space, a concrete slab with a new sidewalk leading to the restrooms and other, paved parking area. And, a dock.

I tried it out.  Rollers on the surface of the dock.  Grab the rails and  pull yourself up.

A great idea, but.  Not sure how the footing will be as area under the kayak is  "V" shaped.  Once you do get out of your craft, you will have to lift it high over the railings and turn sharply to carry ashore.  The rollers, though are great.  A push on the rails, and I backed into the Hillsborogh with ease.
Grear blue heron 1

Ibis 2

Blue heron 3

Tri color heron 4

Rosette spoonbill 5

The Hillsborough River is a favorite due to many factors. One being the plentiful and diverse wildlife. Is that 2 reasons? Throughout this Tale, I am counting the critters. Five so far.

Anhinga 6

Great Egret 7

I noting each new animal, not numbering each photo.

A nice morning, sunny, little wind, sixties.

Woodstork 8

Limpkin 9 with ibis and spoonbill

The tree above marks the end of the broad, shallow section of the Hillsborogh.  Great for wading birds, as you have seen.  I now entered the cypress forest.
Cardinal 10

I saw one person between Trout Creek and Morris Bridge.  Had to be the owner of the car in the parking lot.  Sitting in his kayak, reading the paper.  Said he was on his way back from Morris Bridge.  "Saw a four point buck, otters, and a coyote"   Oh yeah, I had forgotten about the coyote.  A fellow kayaker saw one last week.  And got a photo which is on the Green Wave Forum. 

Got to Morris Bridge at 10:45.  Kept on paddling.

Turtle 11

Alligator 12

Not many people on the River.   I think I saw more private kayaks and canoes then the red rental canoes from Canoe Escape.

I expected to see more gators, but I guess it was not warm enough.

Approached Sargeant Park, at the confluence of the Flint and Hillsborough Rivers, at 12:20.  I continued up the Hillsborough.

I had to turn back just ten minutes up river from Sargeant Park.  To which I returned for a lunch break.

20 minutes or so later, I was ready for the down River paddle.

Not the best cormorant 13 photo

 As on the way up River, very few people on the water.  I went slowly, so not to catch those who were paddling.

Black crowned night heron 14

Despite my slow pace, I caught up to some people I had seen on their way down River.  They certainly were taking full advantage of their time on the Hillsborough River.

Paddled past Morris Bridge Park at 3:00 pm.

Spotted an otter. Briefly, so no pic.

Snowy egret 15

Just one boat on the Morris Bridge to Trout Creek section.

I was back to Trout Creek at 4:40.  Instead of landing, I paddled up Trout Creek.

Trout Creek has a sulphur spring that keeps the water warm.  I have seen some very big gators here.  This one, for instance.

An even bigger one a bit up the Creek.

One of the largest alligators I have seen.  My guess is 12 feet.  Which likely means it was 10.

I paddle up the Creek for only 15 minutes.  Day time was running out.  The huge gator (as opposed to the big gator) had not budged.

I landed at 5:15.  No time for a bike ride after 8 hours on the River.  15 different animals pictured.

Could have been 16 but the two deer on the bank behind the huge gator on Trout Creek were to quick for me.  Good thing they are fast, one would make a nice snack for that behemoth. 

1 comment:

Dark Knight said...

Looking forward the end of this tale and today's.

Congratulations for the Packer's victory. It was great to see them taking Vick out of the playoffs picture. I am tired of the media saying how good and incredible he is. Well, he is human after all.

Thanks Packers!!!!!!!!!!