Another Crowded Day in the Park

Wednesday December 29th 2021

It is getting a little more humid which is bringing a few more clouds to the otherwise bright sunny sky. The temperature peaked in the mid eighties, but it felt a little warmer.

This blog entry is a bit of a rant. I’m going to get my “soap box” out and vent a little, but I’m still including a selection of today’s photos. Yesterday I wrote about the crowds not understanding basic state park and wildlife etiquette. I think it got worse today. Here are three of today’s observations in increasing order of stupidity.

One of the best alligator observation areas is from the bridge over the Myakka River on the main park road. To get there I have to walk about a mile along the narrow winding park road. The speed limit is marked as 15MPH and most drivers keep it under thirty. I was taught as a child to walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk. In fact, that is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Codes and included as law in most states. On just about every trip to the bridge I see people oblivious of this simple safety rule. Today as I rounded one twist in the road I saw a group of eight to ten people walking toward me on the same side of the road. They were spread out across most of the road. They didn’t see the car approaching them from behind. Probably because they were so spread out the driver of the car saw them in time and stopped. It was nearly a minute before anyone in the group knew there was a car waiting to get by them.

On one of the trails along the river two children around six to eight years old and two adult “children” who were probably their parents were “goofing off” along the bank. One of the little kids was trowing every stick and bush she could find into the river. The little boy had shimmied out a tree growing horizontally over the river about a foot and a half above the water. His legs were hanging down toward the alligator infested water. I doubt the alligators would be interested, but I don’t know that. Neither adult was watching the kids. The female adult was playing with her phone. The guy was busy defacing a palm tree with his knife.

The third and probably stupidest observation also involves alligators. Several people had walked along the river bank from the bridge a couple of hundred yards to an area with several alligators taking the sun on the bank. One group got within five or ten feet of a gator to get a selfie. That wasn’t daring enough. One guy decided he needed to touch a gator. He slowly approach the gator from behind and reached out to touch its tail. I don’t think he actually succeeded. He jump back away from the gator and the gator didn’t react. I moved on before he could try again. Watching carnage wasn’t in my plan for the day.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. Here are some of today’s pictures.

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