Kissimmee Prairie State Park, Okeechobee Florida
We are having day three of about a 4 day rain event. It’s been trying to rain the past few days, but other than a few drops, we have stayed dry… until now. We’re finally getting some of the rain that has been in Florida the past few days. Rain is predicted off and on all day and again tomorrow.
It’s not quite how we wanted to spend our time here, but it’s okay. We just might have to extend our stay, so we can explore more once the weather clears up.
We’ve had to stay pretty close to home the past few days. The storms have been all around us, so we’ve hesitated to go too far from home.
We tried to get on the prairie tour yesterday morning. We figured it would get canceled or some of the 8 people wouldn’t show, so we’d be able to get on. They can’t take more than 8 people. They all showed up so we were out of luck. The rain held out as well so they had a nice 2 1/2 hours tour with the park biologist. Boy would we have loved to have been on that tour. Normally the tour is not that long.
They toured the prairie in this huge 4 wheeler type machine. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s big, and it sits high up off the ground, for better viewing. You have to climb on board with a ladder.
They were going to see the nest of the White Tailed Kite (bird). Unfortunately, they only saw the nest, and no bird. These people were serious birders and this rare bird is a must see on their life list.
While they were gone, we walked along on the same trail for about a mile and half. They got much deeper into the prairie. We were afraid to go too far with rain predicted.
There are lots of pretty flowers on the prairie.
I bet there will be a lot more in the fall.
We came across the wetlands area, which was pretty dry due to a long drought. There were huge drainage culverts for water runoff. The park is big on returning this land to it’s natural state, so I don’t understand why they were there. I’m sure it has something to do with the Kissimmee River which runs into the Everglades. It might be a good question to ask the biologist. This is an important watershed area.
There were a lot of gators in this water and they all were warning us of their presence. It made me a bit nervous, since it’s nesting season and Mama Gators are as protective as Mama Grizzly's! There is not very much wetland area and a lot of gators, so they might be a bit grumpy. We were very careful.
We knew that Avon Park Bombing range was in this area. We understood that they no longer used the 106,000 acre facility for bombing practices. It was a big military bomb site during World War II. However, since we have been here, we have been hearing what kind of sounds like distant thunder, and also definitely some airplanes flying high over head. We asked the ranger and she said they do still use the range for bomb practice. I guess it’s a secret.
The other night we had 3 deer resting in the grassy area right behind the motor home. Al was wondering if this one was getting ready to have a baby?
She laid in the grass for a few hours, and we tried not to disturb her.
Although the pictures never do it justice, here is a picture of the beautiful Live Oak canopy in the campground.
We are still seeing a lot of turkey, deer and birds. This place is a wildlife paradise. I think it might be our new favorite Florida State Park.