The grove in the photo above, is where this park historically got its start, in a way. A Florida pioneer back in the 1800’s cleared this grove with an axe, building a small log home and planting orange trees. It would be a beautiful place for a cabin.
In the 1920’s, Margaret Roebling, the widow of John Roebling, who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, bought the land around the grove, after being introduced to its beauty. It was opened to the public in 1931, and became one of Florida’s first of four state parks that opened in 1935.
Due to a mix up, which I may vent about in a later post, I was stuck in the middle of RV Central. My little tent looked lost among the massive land yachts. Grudgingly, I succumbed to my fate, threw up my tent as fast as possible, and headed for the trails.
Out on the trails, it was pretty rare for me to run into anyone, other than wildlife, and that made my day. I headed back at dusk, thinking that I had a better chance avoiding the neighbors while under the cover of darkness. Off to my right, I heard a deep, guttural grunt, followed by a scattering of feet. I moved towards the trees, and peered into the woods, but could make out nothing through the thick underbrush. I heard what I determined to be a mock charge, followed again by this unknown grunt, but still no visual evidence of what was making it. Seemed highly unlikely to be a gator, since I have only heard them hiss. Doubtful that it was a black bear, since the “happy feet” I heard did not fit with the black ghost of the forest.
When I made it back to “camp”, my neighbors were waiting for me. It seems that they were thrilled to see a tent next door to them, rather than another RV. Who would have thought? I actually improved the neighborhood. They thought that tent camping was novel, but they certainly had no interest in partaking. We had a nice conversation, but dinner awaited all of us, and we parted company for our respective stoves.
I hit the trails again the following morning, and within an hour, I heard that same deep guttural grunt from the night before, and turned to see a group of feral hogs. Hogs! That made sense. They are not considered native wildlife, so they are not mentioned in official channels around here. Also, I don’t have a whole lot of experience with feral hogs. There are not many rooting around Interior Alaska, although if they were, the wolves and bears would, no doubt, be thrilled.
These little buggers were all over the place, and I have seen a few of these, but those were in Texas. It was the largest concentration of armadillos I have seen. They were constantly skittering about.