Manatees and Other News

Since our February Park Fees Campaign didn’t do so well we have decided to take more CampHost positions for the rest of the year. We have had to postpone our southern leg of our Florida State Parks visits until next year. For now we have been granted a Camphost position at one of the river camps located along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail for three months. We are looking forward to this new experience though with a little bit of trepidation as they had to close 3 of the 6 camps due to the rising water of the Suwannee this past week. But after a quick call to volunteer headquarters today we were told that they hope to have them all opened by this Sunday. That’s good because a lot of the schools will be getting the spring breaks soon. There is nothing like a kayak or canoe adventure to get away from it all that stress for a week or so. We expect to see quite a few people over the Easter Weekend. Phooey, we are starting our assignment on a holiday. :< Come to think of it our camphost assignment at St. Joseph's starts July 1st just before the holiday as well.

Since we had to head back north we cancelled our reservations with Hillsborough State Park and made one at Manatee Springs State Park for 2 weeks. We were hoping to see the manatees in their winter residence and we did almost every day we were there. They seem to head into the springs area from the river when the temperature falls below 50 or so and spend the night. The first couple of days we saw them in the crystal clear blue water of the springs area as well as cruising and munching on whatever plant life they could reach on the way in from the river. Sadly, near the end of our stay the river rose about 2 feet and sent cloudy silt all the way to the springs so that we couldn’t see all that much after that. We did get a few good pictures of the lumbering manatees as well as the very friendly deer family that roams all around the campgrounds, picnic areas and trails whether the people are there or not. Below are a few of the pictures we have taken of the local residents of the park.

Since there was almost no cellphone reception at Manatee we are behind in our postings, reviews, and movie uploads of the parks. We sincerely hope to get more of them done over the next 30 days but we shouldn’t count on that as these river camps are somewhat isolated. And knowing our luck we will get the most isolated one. We will have to travel into the nearest towns on our days off and try to upload, update and post as many things as we can. That is the main reason why we have returned to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park on our way back north. This park and camping area is so close to Gainesville that we get 3 or 4 bars of wireless internet (would be excellent if this was a 4G spot for Virgin Mobile) and we even get a couple of channels on the TV. Kind of a nice change since we haven’t been able to keep up with the news over the last 3 months. Till next time and enjoy the pics.

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