I leave Oscar Scherer and move 20 miles to Myakka, stay 4 days and move back. Most of the first pictures in this post are from my return to Oscar Scherer and a hike I took to Big Lake on the opposite side of the park from the campground. You’ll see the lake in the map later on. These Big Lake pictures don’t relate to the words next to them.
I’m doing things I seldom did at Oscar Scherer before David died. We were pretty much loners though friendly ones. We just didn’t seek others out much. We were content to hike, bike and kayak together. But without him, I find myself quite lonely and am glad to be at the one state park I know of with activities to rival a private park. Please don’t all hurry to make reservations here, I am having an impossible time making them for the winter of 2020 due to the park’s popularity.
Is this a mushroom?
Anyway, I go out for all the guided hikes offered every week, I attend the morning coffee socials even though I do not drink coffee (Paul and I agree-an evil brew). I attend the once a week pancake breakfasts even though these aren’t the sort of pancakes I prefer. But it does put me in position to meet others and see if there are perhaps other solo women. Unfortunately, I find no other solos male or female.
While I’m here, Jim Smith and a helper come and put two springs on the front two jacks. After they leave it becomes apparent that I should have had the extra set put on the driver’s rear rather than the passenger’s front as it is taking forever to retract. They also install the new skylight. It seems water tight. Only time will tell. I am still seriously angry with myself for potentially breaking open a here-to-fore totally ceiled roof on a 16 year old RV.
Double Crested Cormorant
I did do my laundry, visit Nancy & Bill Mills’ new home in Sebring and check out 3 private parks for a potential longer stay next winter to avoid the more than irritating process of trying to make a reservation in Florida State Parks for January through March.
Female mallards at Big Lake
I’m now spending increasing amounts of time trying to make reservations both for summer of this year and for winter of 2020-21. It’s like playing the lottery daily and mostly losing. I long for the good old days before RVing became the hobby du jour and fulltiming the desired lifestyle. Back in those days when reservations weren’t necessary. We just drove and stopped and stayed and left at will. Well all except for the always popular National Parks in the west. I think it’s the loss of this freedom which has caused so many of our fulltiming friends to have quit or purchased a house and only travel part time.
Also while at Myakka I had lunch with Jeannie and Eldy, former full timers who now live in Sarasota but have their house on the market and are looking to go back to full timing. Good luck with reservations you two.
I took no pictures of any of these outings. Where as I used to always carry my camera, now, I almost never do unless I’m hiking.
On January 21 I’m back at Oscar Scherer. I had no trouble on the short 20 mile drive, no trouble getting the car on or off, no trouble backing into the site. Amazing!
But it was 36 degrees here near Venice Florida tonight and 29 degrees in Ocala where I’ll be in two weeks. It’s no colder than that in Virginia. What’s going on? 90’s all summer in Virginia, as hot as Florida and now 30’s in Florida in the winter, as cold as Virginia. Climate changes for sure. It’s been very interesting to me to see what the pandemic has done for our water and air quality. The before and now pictures of the skies over Los Angeles, over the Taj Mahal and at the Arc de Triumph are incredible. How quickly the Earth can recover, at least at this point, if we just stop polluting
Every morning for days I’ve been on Reserve America trying to set up for next winter here in the Florida state parks and obviously so is everyone else since I’ve been shut out at everywhere I want to be. Full Timing is getting very discouraging. Am I repeating myself?
On both of the Thursdays these last two weeks of January, I attended the park’s pancake breakfast, another thing David and I seldom did because he frankly made much better pancakes.
But it’s a chance for me to meet the others in the park.
Members of the Friends of Oscar Scherer do all the making and serving of both white flour plain and blueberry pancakes (you can guess which I have) along with sausage patties and orange juice. All the proceeds go to the many projects the Friends do for the park. They are a very active group.
Every day I’m at Oscar Scherer I go on my own, or on a guided ranger or Audubon hike, along the trails most of which are seen in this map. The campground, identifiable by the brown tent signs, is located along the south side of South Creek. Big Lake, site of the earlier pictures in this post, is on the far right.
I finish out my first January alone with hikes on familiar trails. Most of these pictures are from the green trail closest to the campground as you can see from the map. Once a week the park’s manager Tony leads a hike. He’s the best of the ranger leaders. That’s him on the right in front.
Every time I go on the green trail I’m lucky enough to see at least one Scrub Jay and on some occasions, like today, a family or part of the group. Today we met up with a family of Jays.
Whether they are in the bushes or in the sugar sand, they are wonderful to watch.
There is always a “sentry” high up at the top of the bush near where the others are.
They always seem to be having such fun.
The Florida Scrub Jay really catches my eye, no matter where they are.
On my last Monday the skies were ominous but beautiful as I walked. I love the light here.
Although I can’t see the yellow rump, I think this is the female warbler
This red bellied woodpecker is busy, high up in a pine tree.
I hate picking a favorite bird for the day but if I did, this Kestrel would be it.
He’s a small falcon about the size of a Mourning Dove.
This singer has me stumped. He’s totally black, eyes, feet, beak. Beak looked too long for a red winged blackbird not to mention there is no red wing. And what’s the white on the front? Sure wish I were writing this post the day after hearing him “sing” so I could remember his song. That would probably tell me a lot about who he is. Can you help me?
On my last Wednesday, I visited the eagles.
Eagles are large majestic birds but I’m not sure how I feel about having such bullies and thieves as our national symbol. I wonder if the rest of the world would say it’s appropriate?
The Carolina Wren on the other hand is a sweet little darling. Or at least as far as I know.
The Rufous-Sided Towee is still a favorite of mine. I love his song and refuse to use his new name.
I wrap up my time at Oscar Scherer to move North to Silver Springs State Park. It’s really too early for me to go north to Ocala. It’s only the end of January. But last year reservations south of Tampa were impossible to get for February and March. And that’s proving true this year again.
I say my farewell to Oscar Scherer, its trails, its programs, its hikes and Siesta Key Beach. I might well stay here a month or two if it was allowed. Wish I could figure out how those who spend 4 and 5 separate 2 week stays here over the winter do it.