Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

My traveling companion and I had a marvelous time at Blanchard Park on the east side of Orange County recently.

That outing was about ten days ago and it was a great morning in a wonderful and somewhat under-appreciated spot in the Orange County Parks system.

The banner photo was taken from the picnic area. We had staked out a good spot with a truly fabulous view of the “Little Econ” River.

By the way, the river’s full name is the Econlockhatchee River and it flows into the St John’s River, the longest in the Sunshine State.

Folks around here just call it the “Little Econ”, as you might imagine. A good part of its 54 mile length winds its way through eastern Orange County and there are several parks dotting its path.

Here’s a view of the river looking straight across the bank from our prime spot where we’d set up our camp stove and started to take photos.

I didn’t get too carried away with my camera that morning. But I did get a dozen or so shots worth keeping. Here’s one similar to the banner photo but not zoomed so tightly.

As most of my readers know, I usually take plenty o’ pix each time I get out into Nature’s Den. But the other reason we went to Blanchard Park that fine Tuesday morning was that it was a perfect opportunity to fire up that two-burner camp stove I love so well and make some pancakes and vegan sausage.

We enjoyed our late breakfast that morning and then moved on to another outdoor adventure. That was a trip about ten more miles out East Hwy 50 to the tiny town of Christmas, Florida.

Fort Christmas Park is another choice spot for Central Florida outdoor enthusiasts. But that will be material for another post on another day.

I just want to note as I’m closing that while we were making breakfast, there were two incidents where joggers who were zipping through the park stopped to tell us how awesome the smell of our pancakes were!

That and everything else about the morning was pretty cool. We’re most definitely going to make another trip to Blanchard Park in the near future.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Wekiwa Springs in November

Wekiwa Springs in November

My traveling companion and I made a trip to Wekiwa Springs earlier this month.

It was a great trip and we enjoyed it immensely.

She had not seen it before; had not seen any of our fabulous State Parks here in the Sunshine State and she loved it.

The banner photo is of the bridge that visitors see when they leave the parking area and walk towards the springs.

I’m sure I’ve taken well over a hundred photos of this beautiful and well-loved sliver of the Park. I’m quite pleased with this one.

You can rent canoes and kayaks here and paddle about to your heart’s content. Here you can see plenty of colorful kayaks just waiting to launch.

I’ve had many friends who swear that kayaking is THEE way to go when you’re near the water. I’m sure that their feelings about that are quite well-founded, but I’m more of a canoe guy! Here four of them greeted us when we came of the way with our cameras in hand.

We are planning another visit soon. This time we’ll be set to camp again. It’s really hard to beat this gem of a park when it’s time to pitch your tent and set up camp.

I will keep you posted on that, of course. Here’s a photo of two happy outdoor-folk getting a selfie in one of Florida’s best outdoor spots!

If you’d like to visit the Park sometime soon or simply learn more about it, just follow this handy link.

If you do make it out to Wekiwa Springs, I’m quite sure you won’t be disappointed!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Returning to Trimble Park

Returning to Trimble Park

I made a camping reservation today to get back to one of my favorite spots to camp in all of Florida.

I’m referring to Trimble Park, right were Orange and Lake counties meet. I’ve camped there three times and am delighted to be heading back.

This adventure is coming next week. And I’m already starting my preps.

The banner photo for this post was taken there at Trimble a couple of years ago. It’s a favorite for me and readers and friends have told me on many occasions that it’s a keeper!

The very photogenic bird in this picture posed beautifully and cheerfully and signed the required photo release the moment I asked him!

How cool is that?!

All silliness aside, I am heading back to Trimble Park very soon with my camera at the ready!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Today is National Arbor Day

Today is National Arbor Day

More trees, please!

Many folks and environmentally-focused organizations will be out planting trees today. I would love to be among them, but another evening at work is going to be my fate today.

I think it’s a very good thing that there is a day set aside for trees and the planting of trees. Setting my sights on next year. A little prior-planning should do the trick.

The banner photo is one of three majestic oaks that live right outside the apartment where I was living in 2015 and ’16. The view from my patio was just breathtaking.

If you’d like to know more about National Arbor Day, just follow this link.

Hug a tree today, nature lover!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

About Sports and Photography

About Sports and Photography

This blog is mostly about awesome outdoor activities and Nature pix.

Many of you know that Bulldog here is a major sports nut, too.

And when I get good shots of a sporting event, they just might end up here.

It’s all outdoor photography, right?

I’m a big fan or the University of Central Florida. The UCF Softball squad hosted the Shockers of Wichita State last week. And I got some good photos out of it!

The banner photo is of a Shockers hitter just before the bat makes contact. It’s a keeper!

The next shot shows UCF ace pitcher Alea White. Alea is a junior and is really making her mark on UCF’s program. If she finishes strong this year and has a good senior season, she’s on pace to eclipse Shelby Turnier’s record of 80 career wins.

Bunting is not a technique used that much anymore in baseball. It’s still a big deal in softball, however. In this next photo, a Shockers hitter is showing the fans how it’s done.

Ultimately, the Shockers bested my Knights, 2-1 in a very close contest. It was a hard-fought one, and I got some good pix!

What more could a fan ask for?

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Time to walk the Beach

Time to walk the Beach

Sometimes you just want to walk up and down the beach. Not necessarily on a prime beach day, either.

Sometime you’ve just got to take your luck, head that way and get out in it!

That’s what this pensive fellow has done in this photo. I’m thinking he spends a lot of time doing that.

Just my intuition, you know!

If I don’t get there soon, I’m gonna be one hurtin’ puppy!

 

Dyin’ here in landlocked Orlando, I am,

“Beachdog Ben”

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

In Praise of Blossoming Trees

In Praise of Blossoming Trees

This post of mine first appeared back on July 5, 2016. I’m running it again today because of the beautiful Tabebuia I saw in someone’s yard last week. That fabulous tree is pictured in the photo at the bottom.

 

There are few things in Nature as beautiful as a tabebuia tree. The photo here is of one I tended, watered and pruned for nine years. Lovely tree; it was a gift from our next door neighbor.

The fact that a tabebuia only blooms for a few days each spring does not detract from its beauty. It’s a reminder for me that life is fleeting and we blossom for a brief season, then fall away and return to the earth. It is good to have your day in the sun!

Though these lovely trees are barren now, there are some beautiful trees, fairly-common in the Sunshine State, which display their gorgeous, bright-yellow blossoms in summer’s sultry heat! I refer to the yellow poinciana, better known to arborists as the peltophorum.

I’ve seen more than a few of them around Central Florida in the last three or four summers; they’re quite a spectacle for those of us who crave a little color in the Florida landscape before autumn’s arrival. They seem to blossom from the top down and the blossoms last a good, long while. They can grow up to 50 ft tall; I’ve seen one nearly that size near the entrance to Disney’s Jambo House Resort.

Count me as one of those Floridians who stays indoors a lot more at this time of year. Day after day of temps in the mid-nineties gets old pretty quick. When I do motor about from place to place here in our subtropical paradise, it’s such a welcome pleasure to be greeted by those lovely yellow blossoms!

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If you’d like to see a brief feature about these fine specimens of arboreal beauty from an excellent source, click on this link.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Photo credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile