Showing posts from January, 2016

Kayaking the Peace River, Florida

Location: Arcadia, Florida
Date: January 13, 2016
Distance: 5 miles

We reserved kayaks (rather than canoes) with the Peace River Canoe Outpost in Arcadia, Florida. They offer numerous numerous trip types from a 5-mile day trip to a 31.5-mile three day trip. On most of their trips, they drive you upstream to the dropoff point, and you kayak back downstream to you parking place at their office in Arcadia.

Because we drove from Fort Myers Beach that morning, we only had time for the 5-mile trip that departs at 12:30 on weekdays (this is the latest day trip departure during the day). We were the only ones on the trip, and after a short bus ride to the dropoff point at Oak Hill, we kayaked out of a backwater area and began the journey downstream. The Canoe Outpost's website describes the trip as 1.5-2 hours of leisure paddling, which I thought was an accurate description.

There was a decent current in the river, but it wasn't very strong. You could easily get by with very little pad…

Commodore Creek Kayak Trail

Location: J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Florida
Date: January 12, 2016
Distance: 2.5 miles round trip

The Commodore Creek Kayak Trail is a 2.5-mile water trail through J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida. The trail starts at Tarpon Bay Explorers, where you can rent kayaks, and traverses along the south side of Tarpon Bay before entering Commodore Creek.

It was slightly windy while kayaking on the bay, but the water was not rough, and once into the sheltered area of the creek, the wind ceased. There was also a decent current on Commodore Creek, which made for easy kayaking during the first part of the loop until we arrived at the open area at the west end of the trail. The return trip meant that we had to kayak against the current in order to return to Tarpon Bay, but overall the trip was fairly easy.

There were numerous herons, egrets, and other birds along the creek, including a couple osprey nests. The…

Big Cypress National Preserve

Location: southern Florida
Date: January 11, 2016

Before and after biking around Shark Valley in Everglades National Park, we stopped at two visitor centers in Big Cypress National Preserve. This preserve protects part of the vast wetlands that encompass much of south Florida.

In the morning we stopped at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center at the western side of the preserve. From the boardwalk here we saw a couple of manatees, but not much else. On the return trip, we stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center, which is more towards the center of the preserve. From the boardwalk at Oasis, we saw numerous alligators, Florida gar, and birds in the large ditch between the visitor center and the road. I had stopped here in 2008 as well, and this is a reliable location to see wildlife. The Florida National Scenic Trail's southern terminus is at the Oasis Visitor Center.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Shark Valley Bicycle Loop

Location: Everglades National Park, Florida
Date: January 11, 2016
Distance: 15 miles

On the northern side of Everglades National Park is Shark Valley, a shallow depression that is seasonally submerged. A paved 15-mile one lane loop road goes through the area, but personal vehicles are not allowed. You can ride a tram on a guided tour on the road or you can rent or bring your own bicycle and bike the loop. I didn't take my phone or camera on the trip, so these photos are not mine or from the day I went, but they are still representative of what I saw.

When biking the loop counterclockwise, the first half of the road is nearly completely straight for seven miles and passes the Bobcat Boardwalk and Otter Cave Trail before arriving at the observation tower and the Borrow Pit Trail. This first half of the loop had the most wildlife, with several alligators and numerous birds, primarily along the right (west) side of the road. However, the largest alligator I saw during this entire tri…

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Location: Fort Myers, Florida
Date: January 10, 2016

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida encompass the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. The estates are a National Historic Site, and entry includes access to a museum, the grounds, which a botanical garden, and an audio tour, although you can choose to have a tour guide.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Columbus, Ohio

Here are a few interesting sights from the Columbus, Ohio area from my visit in January 2016.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.