The Happy Campers Strike Again

Now, that I’ve crawled out from under my never ending pile of laundry, I can write about our camping trip.  Of course we had a fabulous time!

 

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This was our second camping trip to Hillsborough Rive State Park, which I feel is the perfect campground for families.  Our friends and we reserved campsites in the second loop which circles the playground.  Our children played all day on the playground while we sat around and drank beer always staying in our line of sight.  The restrooms are also located in the middle of the loop, which is very convenient too.

 

The moderately sized campsites offer a decent amount of shade provided by large pine and oak trees.  With our camping limited supplies, my family and I don’t require a lot of room.

 

Hillsborough River State Park always offers a number of hiking trails, with the Florida Trail being the longest at approximately 3.6 miles.  Saturday morning, I woke up with an obsession to run one of the trails at the park, but I really don’t know what possessed me to run the Florida trail by myself without my camera or mace.  Along the path, the trail narrowed and I found the uneven terrain very challenging since I am used to running on flat paved surfaces.  With several steep inclines, lots of overgrown weeds and trees roots, this trail definitely seemed to be the trail less traveled.  The Florida Trail followed the river with an occasional rickety bridge to run across and some trees bent over the trail required a limbo move while I ran.  The scenery was gorgeous, however, I couldn’t really enjoy the view because I was too busy watching my step as I stumbled over tree roots.

 

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As I ran along the overgrown trail, I cleared the path for the next hiker or runner by running through spider webs.  At one point, I completely lost my footing and wiped out.  I fell to the ground and rolled.  Fortunately, I suffered minor scrapes.  I bounced back up, shook it off and kept running.

 

Then, I heard some rustling behind me and out of the corner my eye, I spotted a long bushy tail.  After reading flyers posted around the park with warnings about coyotes, I became nervous that I was being followed by one.  After being spotted, the fluffy tail creature hopped into a tree.  Now, I worried that whatever creature I saw would pounce on me and drag my bloody carcass through the woods never to be found again.  Thankfully, that never happened and I lived to tell my tail trail run tale.  (Later, I learned from my friend John that I probably encountered a Red Fox.)  But I had to laugh about all these silly events during my run which made me think of my running partner, Tiffany, who detests nature and running through it on our Starkey Trail runs with the Striders.  I felt a bit like that as I ran along the Florida trail on my own.  I had nature all over me!

5 Miles

54:12

Ave Pace 10:50

 

Later that morning, everyone went canoeing.

 

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Our friends headed south down the river but we went north in the wrong direction.  Our little detour led us to some small rapids which we may have missed if we followed the crowd or if a Park Ranger caught us.

 

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The scenery along the Hillsborough River is much like the scenery along any Florida river with large canopies of large Cypress trees and Cypress knees popping up along the river banks.  We saw a few large hollowed Cypress trees in the middle of the river which reminded us of something from a fantasy novel.

 

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There were also these beautiful overgrown lavender wildflowers that I had never seen before and they attracted a variety of butterflies.

 

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Of course, during our canoe trip, we spotted the usual Florida inhabitants such as turtles, gators and several herons.

 

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Eventually, we caught up to our friends.

 

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One set of friends had white knuckles as it was her first canoe trip and rumor has it that they flipped their canoe.  Their faces have been blacked out to protect their identity.

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Like, I said in my Mr. E’s Beautiful Blue’s post, this year’s camping trip was something out of a bad slapstick comedy film.  Later that evening, one friend stumbled into a fire pit.  We believe her fateful fall may have been caused by her blood alcohol level and the Benadryl another camper slipped her to help with her allergies.  Before she plummeted face first into the fire pit, another friend caught her, but not before she singed some of her hair.  Thankfully, she was fine and didn’t suffer any burns, but it was still scary.  This photo was taken before the fateful fall into the fire.  Again, the faces have been blacked out to protect the identity of the fallen and her drug pusher.

 

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With all the ups and downs (literally), we had a great time.  We’re already planning our next camping trip with mace and minus the Benadryl.

 

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Denise

From start to finish, Denise is Run DMT, a Tampa Bay marathon mom on the run trying to maintain an easy pace through it all between races and raising three beautiful, brilliant children (ages 13, 9, 4). In 2007, I discovered a passion for running and in February 2015, I completed my tenth marathon, however, I continue to train for a variety of races and triathlons. In my spare time, I founded Tampa Bay Bloggers, a hyperlocal blogging network.

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13 comments

  1. Tiffany says:

    Just to clarify, it’s is not that I hate nature. In fact, I am all for saving it. I just don’t personally want to be a part of nature itself : -)

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