Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fort Myers to Seminole Collier State Park

Fort Myers to Collier Seminole State Park
April 3, 2011
20 miles without touring gear

After not nearly enough sleep last night, we woke to a beautiful sunrise and screeching gulls at the San Carlos Campground in Fort Myers. We dragged ourselves out of the tent and walked around like zombies for awhile until our bodies caught up with us. After stuffing the tent away, we paid for our campsite that we had only been at for five hours, and then found some breakfast. We still had our rental car until this evening, and wanted to use it while we had it. We decided to make a grocery run to as nicer grocery store than we might have found along our route.

Then we made a good decision based on our overall energy level today. We drove our rental car out to Seminole-Collier State Park where we would spend the night and dropped off our gear and set up camp. This allowed us to drop off our rental car at the Naples airport, and ride our bikes back to the campground without the weight of our gear. We took the Tamiami trail (the name comes from the fact that the road connects Tampa and Miami) , also called highway 41, and were surprised to find nice bike paths through Naples until we reached the more rural country with less traffic outside the city.

Our ride back to Seminole-Collier was quite pleasant. The forest here is amazing. The vegetation is extremely thick, and it consists of a variety hardwood trees mixed with wild palm trees and tall slash pines. It looks like the jungle, and I am surprised we don't hear or see monkeys swinging around even though I know they don't exist. This habitat is called the hardwood hammock.

The state park was very peaceful and beautiful. Royal Palms, maybe the most beautiful palm tree, grows wild here. We spotted a raccoon right before sunset and watched as it chased anoles (little lizzards) up trees and then snatched them and ate them. Maybe it wouldn't bother our food if it was filling up on wild fare right? Wrong. We left the campsite for a few minutes, and in that time it pulled bagels out of a shopping bag from under the BOB trailer and ate one of them. So much for having bagels now.

We are excited to get some good sleep at this quiet campground tonight. The air feels like it might actually cool off and allow us to be comfortable in our tent.


A view of the canopy in the hardwood hammocks of Seminole-Collier

A nice shady campsite at Seminole-Coillier

A monument to Mr. Collier, a wealthy guy who donated the park land

A nice road through the park

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