Saturday, January 9, 2016

Withlacoocee State Forest

West of Winter Garden is another of our favorite camping spots in Florida.  Withlacoochee State Forest.  This State Forest campground is located next to a forty seven mile paved bike trail.  We also enjoy the rustic atmosphere of this park.  Spacious sites, lots of trees, interesting hiking trails through old growth cypress groves.  The location is also close enough to the gulf coast for a variety of day trips.

Start of one hiking path

When we stayed in this park several years ago there was a bird that screeched endlessly at dusk every night.  There was never a sighting of this creature, and at that time, no one could tell us what kind of bird made this unpleasant squawk.  Later, at a different park,  it was identified by the sound as a limpkin.   This trip Marlin was lucky enough to get a picture.  Not a very good picture, but a picture.

During our two week stay at this State Forest campsite we took in many new sights and got in multiple visits with other snow birds.
Over New Years we drove south to Naples to celebrate with John and Mary Cole.  They are not quite Snow Birds yet, only enjoying their newly acquired condo over Mary's school Christmas break.  This is her last year teaching and John will also retire in the spring so they can enjoy Florida all next winter.

Mary & John Cole

The temperature on New Year's Day was 80 degrees!  We walked around the 2 1/2 mile paved walking/biking path that surrounds two lakes.  This little blue heron did not bother to fly away as we walked past.

Zephyerhills is about 30 miles from Withlacoochee St. Forest.  About half the retired Maine residents have migrated to this town.  Our next visit was to Del and Shelia Hartt.  Since it was holiday time, most of their family was in residence.  We volunteered to take a family picture for them.  Guess they should have hired a professional or at least had Mary set it up.

The Girls - Sheila, Judy, Debbie
The Guys - Bob, Mike, Marlin, Del

The Family (minus Billy and family) - Bob, Debbie, Judy, Del, Sheila, Mike & Mary

There were still many places in this area that we had not had time to check out, and we had only biked a few times on that wonderfully flat trail.  We decided a second week here was in order.  Also, Mike and Mary Hartt were going to bring their new camper here for the next week.  On to some more adventures.

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