Thursday, January 1, 2015

1/1 Highland Hammocks State Park, Sebring, FL

I arrived here yesterday afternoon, fairly late.  I swear the lady at the check-in station for the Highland Hammocks State Park campground told me to go straight out of the parking lot. So, I did. 

Does this really look like a road I ought to be taking a 32' long, 12' high vehicle????   These live oak trees that are so common in the south are dangerous to tall vehicles because their branches grow sideways instead of upright. Thankfully, it was one-way.  Worst part was it was over two miles long. Made it out without losing my satellite dish or AC unit, but was glad to get on a real, two-way road and to my campsite. 

I always choose open campsites so I can use my satellite dish.  Apparently, a contractor accidently killed most of the trees in this area while trying to poison some invasive species.  Nice grassy area, but a bit damp since it has rained for the past couple of days.
They have surrounded the dumpsters with an electric fence in order to keep bears away, so you have to have a good aim in tossing in your trash.  

It always amazes me that so many state parks all over the country have equestrian camping.  These are the nicest barns I have seen.  You put your horse in one of them and camp in the grassy area.
Today, I got my bike out and rode the loop road I had accidently taken yesterday.  Very pretty.


I am glad I decided to take the Cypress Swamp boardwalk.  Only real problem was that today is a very busy day at the park, and so there were a ton of kids stamping on the boardwalk and talking loudly enough to scare off any animals.

Cypress knees.  These serve to hold up the cypress trees and also allow them to "breathe."
This is a red-shouldered hawk.  (I had to look them up.)  They are smaller than red-tailed hawks and have very slightly different coloring.  They also tend to live in swampy areas, which makes sense here.

Ah!  A section of the boardwalk without noisy kids.

More cypress knees. 

There was a flock of about 20 white ibis searching the shallow water for something to eat.  You can tell them from great white herons because of their curved bills.

A very pretty bit of deeper swamp.  The boardwalk gets more narrow here and has a handrail on only one side.

This is a great white heron fishing.  I thought the reflection was nice.  He did not catch anything while I watched.

A very narrow boardwalk!!  Watch your step.

I could not resist taking this photo looking up into the tall palms and a live oak tree.

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