Myakka River State Park, Florida
I had been thoroughly enjoying my time in Florida lounging on beaches and reading but I couldn’t ignore the desire to go on a real hike — as opposed to nature trails or long beach walks — any longer. Myakka River State Park was about thirty miles inland and seemed to fit the bill so I headed out for what I hoped would be a decent hike. Well, things didn’t exactly work out as planned and for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into, my planned 6+ mile loop ended up being an 11 mile walk. I was directed by rangers to change course about a mile into my hike and I thus have no idea what trails I was actually on after the first one – only that I was very glad when I found my car again.
The state park is famous for it’s gators (a couple of which I saw by chance while looking for a ranger station) and has a variety of water-related recreation activities, but it’s also noteworthy for the extensive trail system that crosses prairie, hammock, pine forest, and wetland, all of which I inadvertently covered while getting semi-lost. A mile-long nature trail also contains palm tree habitat, an 84-foot long suspension bridge through the canopy, and a 74-foot high observation tower that provides views of the entire park.