Anne & Tom Explore Florida travel blog

The marshes near our campsite (photo by Anne Barker)

Our site at Shell Mound

Golden in the sunset

A cabbage palm

Filtering the sun

A lovely sunset on the first night



Fog in the morning

The dock at the launch

A lovely place to kayak - if the weather cooperated!


This refuge fronts on 26 miles of the Gulf of Mexico

The day grew cooler and more windy. This pier was where Tom...

The Native Americans dumped their oyster shells here to form a mound...

Part of the ancient shell mound


A B&W image

Another B&W image

Evening saw widespread thunderstorms

Both red and blue lightning flashed for over an hour

The next day dawned bright and COLD

A great day for photos





We drove to explore Cedar Key - a small city on an...

An historic building


A fishing center

What are frozen kayaks?

Main street in Cedar Key

One of the resort hotels at the water


Back at the campsite, Tom celebrates his birthday

The wind continued to blow

A final sunset

After stocking up at a Publix (like a Wegmans in Rochester), and having our last Starbucks, we headed out of the hustle-bussel of the Tampa area to the more laid back coastal islands and the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge about 100 miles north of Tampa. We chose a county park just outside the refuge and were delighted to see vast marshlands - the type that had always excited us as kayaking wonderlands. Our first night at Shell Mound Park sparkled with a glorious sunset, but the weather forecast called for thunderstorms and even a tornado watch. The next day dawned to socked in fog. It was still warm, but the threat of rain and violent weather made us think twice about getting the kayaks down. Tom explored and tried fishing. He got one bite, but the wind was so strong, it blew his line in a wide billowing arc. At 4 in the afternoon, the rains came down in torrents.

By chance (or plan?) we had cooked a steak out on charcoal the first night. As the rain poured down and the thunder roared, we had Mediterranean Pork Chops and home fries cooked on out stove top inside where it was snug and dry. During the night, the temperature dropped to the mid-40's and extra blankets were welcome.

While we had been excited about kayaking in the marsh, we gave up that idea as gale force winds rocked the RV the next morning which dawned bright and COLD!

Tom downed his windbreaker and ventured out to make photographic images in the morning. Later we drove the RV to Cedar Key and explored that small city. Dinner was left-over Mediterranean Pork Chops and was almost a disaster when we found that oil and vinegar potato salad can't be frozen! Thanks, Hal & Peggy for giving Tom a package of instant mashed potatoes for his birthday (Feb. 28). They saved the dinner! As we ate dinner, we noted that sunset has been getting later, a sure sign that Spring is on its way despite the cold weather that had blown down from the north. We braced ourselves for the predicted sub-freezing (31F) temperatures that night.

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