Monday October 12th 2020
Today was focused on getting settled in and exploring the Collier-Seminole State Park. It was a humid day with a high temperature just short of ninety. This is about the same as I was experiencing in the Bradenton area last week, but I think it is near normal here for this time of year. Getting a local perspective on the weather will be difficult. Even though I’m only about five miles from outskirts of the city of Naples, I don’t receive any over the air TV stations. If it wasn’t for satellite TV I would be without entertainment. Cell service is also a little sketchy, but usable.
This part of the state park is located near the Royal Palm Hammock along the Backwater river. There are a number of historical displays and memorials in this part of the park. A memorial to Baron Gift Collier and advertising tycoon and land developer that bought over a million acres of land in southwest Florida in the 1920s is located in the park. He donated the land to the county to preserve the royal palms. The state took over the park in 1947. Baron Gift Collier is also responsible for finishing the western portion of the Tamiami trail in the 1920s.
In addition to completing my setup tasks around my site, I took a couple of walks around the campground. The area along the Backwater river has been recently modernized. There is a new seawall along the water with several docks for fishing and to support kayak and cannoning. The area even has a handicap kayak launch. During normal times a concession would be renting kayaks and canoes. I don’t know if it will be open this winter. All of the canoes and kayaks are stacked well away from the water.
My second walk to the Backwater river was just before sunset. The area was empty and the water was relatively calm. I could here the shark music from Jaws in my head as I watched a log like object moving toward me across the water. It was a good size alligator. The amphibian moved slowly watching the shoreline. When there was activity like a car driving by or a loud human noise it stopped and got lower in the water. Only its head was visible until everything calmed down again. Eventually it reached an area just beside the boat ramp. I think it was waiting for a safe time to climb the boat ramp and cross the parking lot to a marsh area. It probably had to wait until after darkness arrived. My patience was exhausted long before the gator moved. I took several pictures of the gator. I’ve included a few here to provide a little context.