My favorite thing about Hammock Park in Dunedin, Florida is the covered platform I can watch the boardwalk from. There are also several trails, a small playground, a butterfly garden, restrooms, and disk golf available. The day I went to the park the butterfly garden was still flooded from the recent storm so I can’t say much about that, though I did see a couple butterflies elsewhere in the park. From the boardwalk itself one can look down and see fiddler crabs and turtles. The playground features a pyramid of ropes that shifts around as you climb it. You haven’t lived until you’ve climbed something that moves as much as you do. The gravel fill below it I discovered was strangely bouncy. Upon closer examination I determined it was made of little bits of rubber tires. I suppose it makes for a softer landing when you inevitably fall off the ropes.
It seemed boring at first. When I first arrived, I took the trails around the eastern perimeter of the park. There were benches named after various people. There were numerous puddles and muddy spots that slowed me down. These puddles had tiny tadpoles! The larger puddles had larger tadpoles! This redeemed what was otherwise a boring area. A drier trail was completely blocked by fallen trees. I climbed around and over the first two only to be utterly defeated by the third. The only redeeming feature there was the patch of plants I found with touch-sensitive leaves. The sun was hot and there was less shade than I like. I was starting to think the park might be a dud. I was very wrong.
Returning the way I came I saw an egret guarding the dam. While I walked along the brook, two jays shrieked and chased each other at high speed. They did the same when I returned that way later and the same again when I passed a third time. Then I discovered the boardwalk and the platform overlooking it. A short ways along a bridge spans a waterway. A very loud duck-like bird flew over the short bridge just as I passed, clearing the railing by inches. I was very thirsty by this time and thought of returning to the car for my water, crackers, and sunscreen so I could sit there and read (I had a book, too). Unfortunately, there was a trail heading the other way and I had to know where it went. I stood there for almost a minute trying to decide which way to go. The struggle is real!
When I did finally make it back to the platform I ended up talking with a pretty lady who had the same exact idea I did. She soon left and I decided to finish exploring. Beyond the boardwalk were some paved trails and beyond those another boardwalk nestled among tall mangroves. There I saw six mangrove crabs on a trunk facing each other in a circle. Were they having a conference? Was it about me? I’m probably just being paranoid, but they scattered when they saw me coming. I’ve never seen such behavior before. I also saw a dark beetle and later observed a woodpecker from only twelve feet away. It eventually figured out I was behind it and kept turning its head sideways to look at me. I saw so many things I can’t fit them all in one post. Below are only the highlights:
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My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.