|Lake Apopka, north shore - 7/19/2020|
Customarily, we celebrate my birthday by Susie and the grandgirls taking me out to lunch, almost inevitably at a restaurant where we can order Baked Brie. Alas, this year . . .
When Susie asked me what I wanted to do, it didn't take long to think of an alternative. I've been wanting to go on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive ever since it was inaugurated back in 2015, and after being cooped up at home, staring at four walls since March, a scenic drive sounded really good. Despite summer being the poorest time to view wildlife, we saw a huge number of ducks, plus bunches of babies not more than 4" long. Also, multiple heron, egret, anhinga; one hawk, a raccoon, two alligators, and countless concentric circles in the canals, where fish were jumping up to grab insects.
A bit of background on the wildlife drive: It seems that way back at the beginning of WWII, the north shore of Lake Apopka (Florida's second largest lake) was drained to create farm land to grow crops for the war effort. To do this, a criss-cross of levees was built, and it's along those levees that the Wildlife Drive now runs. The "farm land" has long since returned to swamp - except for a sod farm we saw just as we exited - and there is only a short section where part of the lake itself can be seen. But the canals and swamps teem with life, and I'd love to return in cooler weather when far more creatures should be out and about.
|Our second gator sighting of the afternoon|
Volunteers brave the heat to welcome visitors, hand out maps, and explain about the Audio Tour available via your cellphone. To me, the most surprising bit of information was that a million pounds of fish are taken from Lake Apopka each year. Warning: if you're interested in this or any other wildlife tour, be sure to search for the website and check the hours. For example, the Lake Apopka drive is open only on weekends. (It's free, by the way.)
So . . . if, like so many of us, you're not taking that vacation, not eating out; you're attending church online, maybe ordering your groceries delivered, consider taking a scenic drive. So many people had that idea last Sunday afternoon that the Speed Limit of 10mph was frequently reduced to somewhere around 3mph! Seriously, it's safe, it's scenic, it's a break from four walls. If you don't know where your nearest scenic drive is, I bet Google can find it for you.
Below, a few more photos taken by Susie and Grace:
|Selfie by Susie, wearing her mask on her head; Me, looking silly|
|The sod farm with rolling irrigation racks in the background|
So, do it! Ease the stress by taking a scenic drive.
For those who would like to know about the
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, click here.
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|Coming soon - c. 8/6/20|
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