Visiting with Turtles and Gators

Friday April 23rd 2021

I thought today would be a good day for a bike ride. My bicycle didn’t agree. The recent rain got into the front brake cable and thoroughly gummed up the works. A few minutes of struggle and copious amounts of penetrating oil didn’t result in a working brake. I left the oil to do its thing and headed off to the bike trail for a walk.

Van Fleet Rail trail looking north from the Green Pond Station parking lot.

Today’s exercise was a 2.5 mile walk from the Green Pond parking lot on the Van Fleet rail trail to the bridges that cross moving water on the Polk County Lake County line. If I had my bicycle, I’d have gone a few miles further north along the trail. The part of the trail I walked is straight and flat all the way.

County line about 2,5 miles north of the Green Pond Station Parking Lot.

The bridges over the moving water is the first area with significant wildlife to observe. The swampy water was full of turtles and alligators. On one side of the bridge there were little turtles and big turtles taking the sun on logs and clumps of vegetation. Nearer to the bridge there were several small alligators hovering in the water with their heads out and on high ground.

The other side of the bridge from the turtles was home to a few more little gators and a couple of bigger ones. They still weren’t huge gators. A little further up the trail at the second bridge a full size adult gator was taking the sun. There weren’t any turtles or little gators around. Perhaps that is how the gator got so big.

When I got back to the campground late in the afternoon, I expected to see the sites filled with weekend campers. I had a couple of new neighbors, but overall the campground still had many empty spaces. I don’t get what drives occupancy at this park. It was mostly empty the first week I was here. Last weekend it filled up and it remained busy most of the past week. Yesterday and this morning it emptied out and it doesn’t seem to be filling for the weekend.

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