Nested in my Texas flag hammock shaded under palm trees just might of been my favorite place to be in 2017. Only wish it could have lasted longer. The final week of the year I spent in Florida to visit Ryan in his hometown, the happiest place on Earth– Orlando. My first full day there, I told him I want to do something outdoors, and not a major tourist attraction. He took me to Wekiwa Springs State Park.
The morning started off chilly, and a nice layer of fog rolled over the surface of the water. We rented a canoe and paddled into the swampy unknown. Good thing we got there early, because the scenery of the park was untainted by fellow venturers. The silence of the morning brought complete peace and solitude amongst the water and greenery. The perfect opportunity to connect with Floridian nature.
As the sun lifted, so did the temperatures. A comfortable 75 degrees brought the potential for alligators to be sun bathing on the shore. I made it my mission to see wild alligators on my first day in Florida– binoculars and all, I was ready.
Toward the end of our paddling, when I’d almost given up hope and least expected it, I spotted two gators only 10 or so feet next to us! Ryan remained completely calm, being a native of the land and all, while my heart was pounding and I was nearly frozen, but at the same time in awe to be sharing the water way with these incredible creatures. I almost forgot I was in control of the canoe, and allowed the soft current to take us away until we were no longer visible to the gators.
We arrived back to the main part of the park with the swimming hole to find a lot more visitors had arrived, many swimming and soaking up that Florida sunshine. We enjoyed the same, except from the comfort of our hammocks, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.