Discovering Florida Outdoors

As I mentioned before, meeting Catherine and Eugene was a high point in our move to Orlando as they introduced us to the Florida outdoors.  We joined them on camping trips the usually included kayaking, a past time we took up shortly after arriving.  During my first and Darryl’s second winter in Florida, I was constantly thrilled by the balmy weather.  Over the three years in the Sunshine State I learned that it isn’t always warm in the winter in Florida but the winter of 2006-2007 was glorious.

The following are some shots of our first camping trip with Catherine and Eugene was to Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park.  I still don’t understand that name but it was a really nice introduction to Florida camping, which for sissies like us is done in the Fall, Winter and early-Spring.  Too damn hot to sleep in a tent in the Summer, not to mention being carried away by mosquitoes.  The memories of 10 below temps and shoveling snow for weeks was still fresh in my memory so sitting around a campfire and ushering in the New Year in shorts and a fleece gave me quite a thrill.  The following are some shots from that first camping trip. 

The Crew on our first hike.
Eugene sporting the ‘explorer look’.
Florida flora
Catherine (left) holding class for Megan (middle), Darryl and ‘?’ (can’t remember his name).
Believe it or not, there were wintering Sandhill Cranes out there – they never shut up.
Darryl and the gopher tortoise.
That’s me peaking between Darryl and Megan.
Catherine and Eugene became dear friends in our short time in Florida and leaving was bittersweet.  However, Eugene has a brother in Washington and they both are familiar to the area so we expect to see them for some Pacific Northwest adventures in the near future.  Next will be shots from our kayaking adventures.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from the trip paddling with the manatees on the Homosassa River when a porpoise surfaced next to Darryl’s kayak within arm’s length.
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