Exploring the Hillsborough River State Park

Sunday January 13th 2019

Today started bright and sunny. The temperature climbed into the high seventies before the clouds associated with a cold front arrived. A few light showers even dampened the ground around nightfall. Tomorrow is forecast to be ten degrees cooler with a north wind.

Palm trees leaning off the river bank.

My theory that this park was full of weekend campers was validated this morning. There was a mass exodus before the 1PM checkout time. During the early afternoon the park looked very empty. By nightfall it was close to full again. There are more out of state license plates on the new residents than the old.

I split my explorations of the Hillsborough River State Park into two groups separated by the Patriots vs. Chargers football game. This morning I road my bicycle around the loop road in the park. All of the traffic follows a one way loop road through the park. The campground is located about two thirds the way around the loop. I didn’t explore off the road, but got a sense of where things are located in the park.

The football game was a good surprise. I feared the Chargers would win. My faith in the Patriots defense wasn’t high, but they proved me wrong. By the end of the first quarter I had a good feeling about the outcome of the game. As the Patriots would say, “It’s on to Kansas City”. I’m looking forward to the game, but it’s tough to beat a good team twice in one season.

After the first football game I set off on foot to explore other areas of the state park. The picnic area and a few nature trails are along the area up river from the campground. The river through most of the park has a slow current and is very good for canoes and kayaks. The trees along the river banks lean out over the water creating a canopy of foliage. There are many down trees from years of storms in the woods and other signs of damage to structures from hurricanes. A sign on the top of a shelter indicates the high water mark from flooding and one of the foot bridges over the river has been closed since hurricane Irma a year and a half ago. There are many trails that I want to explore in more detail over the next few days.

Foot bridge over the Hillsborough River that was damaged by hurricane Irma.

I cut my exploration short and hurried home to avoid getting wet by the line of showers approaching with dark clouds. The second football game of the day caught my attention for the next couple of hours. It was a much closer game than the first game of the day.

Turkey Vulture watching over the picnic area.

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