Bristol, TN – Rooster Front Park

Yes, Rooster Front Park. Again! But, you haven’t seen it in the fall.

Yes, I’ve blogged about this walk 4 times already this year. But, if we need something quick and close to home, this is the perfect place to go. And, we needed that today. I had to work today, and had to be there by 1:00.

I didn’t have any photos from yesterday (Saturday). Probably didn’t have good weather yesterday.

So, here are a few fall photos from today. One of me, one of Steve, and the rest are of color on this trail. I believe that Steve had a special filter on his camera today.

Address for GPS: 1160 Vance Dr, Bristol, TN

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Hampton, TN – Hwy 321

I just called this one Hwy 321 because on Hwy 321 we walked a little of the Appalachian Trail at Shook Branch. We then left there and headed on up 321 and walked around at the Cardens Bluff Campground.

So, as you see, change of scenery. We woke up at around 3:00 this morning in Florida to be at the St Pete / Clearwater Beach airport by around 5:00. We landed back in Tennessee around 9:00. We went home and hung out with our cat Chloe for a while, and then headed out for our walk. Normally when we return from Florida, the trees have already peaked and most of the leaves are gone. But, from what I read, there was still a lot of color when we returned from Florida because of our wet summer. So, we got out today and enjoyed the color. You’ll see in some of the photos that there was still quite a bit of green.

So first, we stopped at Shook Branch and took some of the Appalachian Trail towards the Watauga Dam. We eventually ran across a big sign warning hikers of the heavy bear activity. We decided at that point to turn around and head over to Cardens Bluff Campground. The campground was still open, but we parked at the entrance because of course results in a longer walk. Our favorite walk is to go to the first fork in the campground, and turn right. Eventually you come to a trail off to the right. It takes you down and around the perimeter of the campground, and by the lake. But, we ended up having to eventually turn around and backtrack. We came to a part of the trail that has collapsed and there was a good drop-off to the right. Didn’t want to risk falling. So, we just went back and walked around the paved roads through the campground.

Here are a few photos from today. Run your cursor over each for a brief description.

Directions: If you are driving from Elizabethton, at the junction of 19E and 321 in Hampton, turn left. Drive approximately 3 miles and you will see a National Forest sign and a big gravel parking area on your left. Park here and find the steps that go over the bank. To get to Carden Bluff Campground, continue another 2 miles on Hwy 321. Watch out. It comes upon you quickly on your left, in a curve.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

St Petersburg, FL – Sunken Gardens

This was our last day in Florida, so decided to walk through Sunken Gardens. It’s a nice botanical garden in the middle of busy St Petersburg. I grew up in Miami and Homestead, FL, and I remember my family taking a vacation and going there many years ago. These gardens have been here for 100 years and have some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. As you stroll through, you see plants, flowers, little waterfalls, bridges, creeks, birds, flamingos, etc. There are a couple of open areas where weddings are held. We ran across a couple today having their wedding photos taken.

As usual, when it comes to plants and flowers, I hardly know one from another, so didn’t provide a description on these photos. So, here are the photos from the gardens, and one last photo from the condo. This wasn’t a sunset photo. But, as I was out taking photos of the sunset, I was able to capture the fin of one of the dolphins that was heading north.

Address for GPS: 1825 4th St N, St Petersburg, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Tampa, FL – Lowry Park Zoo

We say every year that we are going to check out the zoo, and finally this year we did. What do you say? A zoo is a zoo. Glad we visited it, but this was probably our one and only visit. I guess I was a little disappointed. But, because we’ve been to more modern zoos, this fell a little short of my expectations. It was really hot today too, which could have impacted my enjoyment. When we got back to the car, the temperature gauge showed over 100 degrees. But, it was a very popular zoo. Kids love it!

Here are a few zoo photos from today. Oh, and one sunset picture from today.

Address for GPS: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Indian Rock Beach, FL – Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve

To finish out our day today, we stopped at a very small nature preserve that isn’t far from the condo.

Indian Rocks Nature Preserve is a small 9 acre park on Gulf Blvd. It has a boardwalk that takes you to a fishing and observation pier where you have a view of a piece of the bay. You will see as you walk the boardwalk that it’s tucked in between some condos. Today we saw waterfowl hanging out on people’s condo balconies. Little crabs and lizards crawling around on the boardwalk. When we were out viewing the bay, it was very exciting. Saw a hammerhead shark. At least I think it may have been a hammerhead. I did get a photo of it. I was trying so hard to get Steve over to look at it, that I missed out on opportunities to get more photos of it. I’ve posted the one photo that I did take.

Enjoy the 5 photos from this little park. Run your cursor over each for a brief description.

Address for GPS: I couldn’t locate an exact address. All that I could find is that it is located on Gulf Blvd between 9th and 10th Ave.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

St Petersburg, FL – Sawgrass Lake Park

Today we headed over to another park that we frequent each year. This is a 400 acre park. It’s one of the largest maple swamps on the Gulf Coast. We are normally able to see alligators on the canal and lake. We weren’t disappointed today. Again, like yesterday, most of the alligators were younger.

As usual, since our goal is alligators, there are just two trails that we take here at this park. They are Sawgrass Trail. This boardwalk trail leads you above the swampy areas of the park. Your first stop is a covered observation deck where you can observe wildlife on the canal. We always see alligators here. After you’ve enjoyed the views here, you head on to the two level observation tower. Here you have views of the lake. The alligators here are hit and miss. But, we did see a few little alligators all piled in one spot. Was a little hard to photograph them, but posted the best picture that we could get. Then, after we walk this trail, we then walk down the path by the canal. We walk until we get to the bridge that takes you across the canal to the Maple Trail. It’s hit and miss down this pathway when it comes to alligators. We’ve taken the Maple Trail before, but it’s more just traveling through the trees and swamp. Since there’s not much wildlife action through there, we pass and don’t take that trail.

Here are a few photos from the park. Run your cursor over each for a brief description.

Address for GPS: 7400 25th St N, St Petersburg, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

St Petersburg, FL – Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Today we headed out to one of our favorite parks. We visit this one every year because we always see alligators. Finally! We did get to see a couple, but they were just young ones. No huge parents.

Boyd Hill is located on Lake Maggiore. You are actually surrounded by the city, but when you are at the park, you’d never know it. The park has a picnic area, playground, education center, nice gift shop, aviary, and and over 3 miles of trails and boardwalks. There is a small admission fee.

The trails that we always frequent are as follows. We first take the short 2/10 of a mile Swamp Woodlands Boardwalk. If you keep a good eye out over the boardwalk, you may capture an alligator. That seems to be only when there’s been quite a bit of rain, and it’s swampier. It was pretty dry today. We then head over to the short 2/10 of a mile Willow Marsh Boardwalk. We take the boardwalk through the trees and watch for alligators over the side, but we’ve never seen any when walking the boardwalk. But, usually when you are crossing the bridge to the boardwalk is where you will probably capture a few alligators. This is the bridge where you normally see a majority of the alligators. Today though, just a couple of young-uns. Lastly, we crossed the bridge to Lake Maggiore Island. Mostly what we see over here are waterfowl and a nice view of the tall buildings in St Petersburg. Including Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays play.

Today we also wanted to take some of the trails on the back end of the park. Lakeside, Center Loop, etc. But, even with our map, it became a little confusing, so we turned around and headed over to the aviary, and checked out some of the birds, then headed back to the condo.

Hope you enjoy a few of the photos that I chose. Of course I included one end of day sunset shot. Run your cursor over each for a brief description.

Address for GPS: 1101 Country Club Way South, St Petersburg, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

2013-10-16-Boyd Hill Nature Preserve-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V_140

2013-10-16-Boyd Hill Nature Preserve-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V_155

Largo, FL – Florida Botanical Gardens

Our third and final park visit for 10/15. Actually, the botanical gardens are right across the street from Walsingham Park, which my previous post was about.

Some botanical gardens charge you to get in. But, this particular garden has free admission. The park is 120 acres. It consists of the following. Formal Gardens, Wedding Garden, Tropical Walk, Palm Garden, Patio Garden, Tropical Fruit Demonstration Area, and Herb Garden Demonstration Area. They also have a beach themed picnic area.

We go to the botanical gardens every year. We usually walk the entire gardens, but today is was so hot that we cut our day a little short. So, end of day 2 alligator total? ZERO. Well, maybe tomorrow.

As with my previous post, since I’m not familiar with all of the different flowers, I didn’t name these photos. These are mostly flower photos, with a couple of critters, and then a couple of end of day photos from the condo balcony. Enjoy!

Address for GPS: 12520 Ulmerton Rd, Largo, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Largo, FL – Walsingham Park

This was today’s second of three parks.

Walsingham Park is pretty good sized. It’s 354 acres, and the lake is 100 of those acres. There is a 6 mile trail through the park that people use for walking, jogging, and cycling. There are a lot of picnic tables. People put their boats out on the lake and fish.

Steve and I walked around the entire park last year. We enjoyed the part where we could see the lake. But, on the other side of the park, most of your time is spent walking through pines and so forth. So, today we decided to only do parts that were near the water. Because as I’ve stated, my goal is to find alligators. Which, so far we haven’t seen any.

I usually put a little description on each photo. But, since I’m not real familiar with the names of the different birds that I took pictures of, and then other photos are just lake photos, I didn’t name any of these. Just enjoy the photos.

Address for GPS: 12615 102nd Ave N, Largo, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Largo, FL – George C McGough Nature Park

Today we visited three parks. This was the first of the three. We had seen the sign out at the main road the previous couple of days, so decided to check it out. I first tried to find some photos on the internet to see if we may be interested, but really couldn’t find anything. So, decided to check it out. Glad that we did. We’ll go walk through this park again in the future. It’s a nice little park and close to the condo.

This park has a nice little picnic area. A little playground for the children. A nature center that includes owls, hawks, etc. in cages outside. Then, you go inside and you have aquariums with snakes, lizards, etc. When we were inside, the guy took one of the big snakes out for it’s feeding. We then left the nature center and next went to the turtle pond. Turtles all over the place. After leaving the turtle pond, we took the trail out to the bay. The trails here consist of sandy grit, some of the trail is paved, and then you have the boardwalks. After the visit to the bay, that’s pretty much it. We then headed out for our next park.

As usual, run your cursor over each photo for a brief description.

Address for GPS: 11901 146th St, Largo, FL

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Categories

Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog

Enjoy the Colorful Photographic Impressions created by Vann Helms

J. Robin Whitley

Life is art! Live Beautifully!

Hiking the Carolinas

Tracking Our Adventures in the Woods

Shadow River

Adventure Photography

lifeat6mph

musings on life both at sea and ashore

Go West Young WOMAN

The travels of an adventurous soul

Abingdon Outdoors

Articles, Essays & Photography

Carolina Trekker

A blog about hiking

Maple Avenue Juice

Optimal Health the Raw Juice Way!

Dining Destinations

A guide to dining destinations in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina

Blue Ridge NC Guide

Hiking Trails, History, Restaurants, Local Services, & More!

Virginia Hiking

Exploring some of Virginia's best hikes!

our gfree life

living gluten free without sacrifice

Epicurean Vegan

Healthy Eating for Discriminating Palates