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

A Quick Look Back Over Some…

A Quick Look Back Over Some…

I did want to take a quick look back over some of the outdoor fun I had this year.

Although I would have loved to have had even more outdoor fun, I had plenty of it in 2019.

Less than I’d like but undoubtedly more than most folks.

A couple of the trips I made to the Canaveral National Seashore this year were very memorable.

The first was on July 1st and the second in early September, soon after Hurricane Dorian blew through.

The first was memorable mostly because it was just a blissful, nearly-perfect day and the second because the shore was practically covered in shells of every type.

Hurricanes do throw millions of tons of shells and plenty of flotsam and jetsam on the shore in their wake.

I did blog about both of those trips here and here.

Another noteworthy excursion happened in November. It had been over a year since I had had a chance to visit Wekiwa Springs State Park and I’m delighted to say that that trip about seven weeks ago was absolutely wonderful in several ways.

If you’re anywhere near these lovely places here in the Sunshine State, you’re past due for a visit.

About three weeks ago, my traveling companion and I spent two nights and three days camping and seeing the sights at Silver Springs State Park.

We had a fabulous time, though Joan had a head cold start as we were about one day into the trip.

We took the ever-popular glass bottom boat tour for which Silver Springs is so well-known. Below is one of the shots I got on the tour. There were many, many more, as you might imagine.

I hiked solo while Joan rested and we both enjoyed the park and our two-plus days there even with the head cold hassle.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile trip and we’re making plans to return to S.S.S.P. early in 2020.

There will be a more thorough post about that trip coming early in the New Year. Three brief paragraphs here tonight simply do not do it justice.

Outdoor activities are popular in every corner of America and all over the world.

Make sure that in 2020, you get in on some of the fun!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Walt Disney's Birthday

Walt Disney's Birthday

Some happy news: today is the birthday of Walt Disney.

For me–and for so many others–that is, indeed, a cause for celebration.

The world is a better place for Walt having come along. A mere 118 years ago, I might add.

It’s also true that my life is certainly better because of that salutary event.

Walt, we love you and strive to move your amazing, unique vision forward.

A proud Disney cast member, I am,

Benjamin Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Ben is not the owner of the delightful graphic in this post and believes it to be covered by Fair Use.

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

Beautiful Beach, Good Weather and No Shells

Beautiful Beach, Good Weather and No Shells

Wrapped up a fine and long-overdue trip to Cocoa Beach recently.

I love the beach, and the City of Cocoa Beach is always a pleasure to visit.

And yes, the weather was near-perfect.

But for whatever reason, it was tough finding shells.

Now, I know most of you are probably thinking that any trip to the beach is very worthwhile whether you come away with a good haul of sea-stuff or not.

I certainly agree!

But still, I was a bit disappointed. The banner photo for today’s post showcases the shells we did come away with.

But I’ll be heading back soon, of course!

Get outdoors, folks.

To the beach, to one of our amazing National Parks. To wherever!

Just get off the couch and do it!

You’ll be so glad you did…

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Greenways and Trails in Florida

Greenways and Trails in Florida

There are so many things to like about this time of the year.

For those of us who live in the Sunshine State, one of them is using and celebrating Florida’s Greenways and Trails.

Traditionally, October is the month we publicize our trails and encourage Floridians and visitors alike to use them.

If you’re around here at any time of the year and would like to know more, it sure couldn’t hurt to visit this site put together by the folks whose job it is to spread the word about such things.

This is such a good time of year to get out into the outdoors. I do a lot of that and it’s hard to put into words how much enjoyment–enjoyment and serenity–I get from doing it!

It’s all right there for the taking…

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Canaveral National Seashore in Dorian’s Wake

Canaveral National Seashore in Dorian’s Wake

Made another trip out to the Canaveral National Seashore yesterday and it was a bit different.

It was our first visit since Hurricane Dorian passed by, skirting our coastline.

Although the storm never got closer than about 50 miles offshore, the unmistakable tell that Dorian had come and gone was litter on the beach.

I’m happy to report that we saw no large items, but lots of flotsam and jetsam a lot assorted small debris. Bottle caps and plastic items of every kind and description were all over the beach.

I’m pretty sure that the rangers saw to it that the larger, uglier debris was removed but didn’t have the manpower to get the rest of it. I’ve been to the park many times and the beach has always been pristine.

As you might imagine, it was a bit off-putting to see it that way.

Here’s the silver lining in that dark cloud: those of us who like to pick up seashells when we go to the shore had thousands of shells of all kinds right there for the collecting.

I’ve never seen that at the beach, either. And we came back with quite a haul.

I’m planning another trip to the park soon to do what I can to get more of Dorian’s debris off our beloved beach. We couldn’t do much this time as we didn’t anticipate the situation and the park service does not put out trash cans on the beach.

We will be prepared next time.

Get outdoors, people!

Find some oasis of beauty and tranquility in your neck of the woods.

Enjoy it. Enjoy it and leave it a little better than you found it.

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile