Deer and Springs at Kelly Park

Deer and Springs at Kelly Park

We had occasion to camp at Kelly Park in Orange County (Florida) not very long ago and had a terrific time.

We were stunned at how tame the deer were. They came around–and in considerable numbers–every evening and night.

Having said that, I must add that I have no photographic proof. At the times they’d drop by to say hello, the light was already too low for my low tech skills to document the fun.

I took several videos with my cell phone but the light is so low that using the delete feature to put them out of their misery was my only real option.

The banner photo is of one stretch of woods not far from our campsite where we first saw them appear. That was about 45 minutes before sundown on our first day.

This scene is no more than 150 feet from the site where the banner photo was taken and showcases another spot where we saw deer looking for dinner on many occasions.

Kelly Park is known for its abundant wildlife. But the world-famous Rocks Springs which are found there also bring around the crowds all year long. The crowds have subsided of late, as the pandemic has forced Orange County to close the springs for swimming but it’s still well worth your time and a modest admission to see the Springs up close.

We dedicated a pretty good chunk of day two’s time to wander about at Rocks Springs and had a great time doing so. Below is one more photo from those lovely Springs.

I heartily recommend Kelly Park to any of you who are close to Central Florida or who might be visiting in the near future. The plentiful wildlife, the iconic and beautiful springs and the general allure of the Sunshine State beckon nature lovers from anywhere to head this way and stay awhile.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Another Camping reservation

Another Camping reservation

We do have another camping reservation coming up in about ten days.

I am off today on this fine Labor Day and my thoughts are turning to hiking trails and propane-fired camp stoves as I get ready to fire up our grill here at home.

By the way, I truly am happy that I’m not working today and I’ll have more to say about Labor Day in the next post.

The banner photo is from a camping adventure not very long ago. I’m not in the woods today, but I won’t have to wait much longer…

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Time to go visit your Mother

Time to go visit your Mother

Joan and I spent two lovely days at Trimble Park back in January. It’s one of our favorite camping spots in Central Florida.

It was about two months before so many things–including parks and outdoor venues of many kinds–began to close down because of the coronavirus.

As I write this, many if not most parks and spots where outdoor-lovers like to go are open again. In fact, we’ve been on four camping excursions since many places began to reopen.

It’s easy to practice social distancing in parks and camping spots, as you might imagine. The fact that we’ve been able to do a lot of the things we really enjoy is such a good thing.

Many things that folks find enjoyable are difficult–and sometimes impossible–to do right now and I’m happy to be able to engage in the outdoor activities I enjoy so much.

I will have postings about those aforementioned trips in the near future. Today I merely wanted to share one photo from that delightful excursion to Orange County’s Trimble Park seven months ago and feel a little gratitude that Mother Nature is still receiving visitors as we go through some disquieting changes.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

(c) 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

National Camera Day

National Camera Day

Photography is a very big deal to me and today is a day I wanted to get a photo or two up on the blog.

It’s true that there’s not a lot left of this auspicious day, but here we go…

We did have a fabulous trip to Silver Springs State Park about ten days ago. It was my third trip to the Park all total. The weather was ideal, the camping was top-shelf and there were lots of good photo ops, of course.

There’s a lot to the park besides the well-known springs. I’ll have more about that coming in another post. But today’s post is a quick look into the springs part of Silver Springs.

The glass bottom boat tour is always a treat. But there were plenty of kayakers and boaters out that day as well as the conditions for an outdoor excursion were as good as it gets.

Here are a couple of outdoor lovers paddling about on that lovely summer afternoon.

Boaters were well-represented too. The couple here seemed to be having a good outing. That old saying “a bad day on the water is better than your best day at the office” comes to mind.

An outing as good as this one certainly deserves more than just one quick post. I’ll have more to say about the visit and more photos in the near future.

Happy explorations to everyone. If you get outdoors soon, social distancing is the order of the day.

Enjoy yourselves and stay safe.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

Strolling Down Blue Jay Way

Strolling Down Blue Jay Way

One of the better things that have come out of the COVID-19 crisis for me is that my girlfriend and I have definitely gotten to know our neighborhood much better. We take our evening stroll about 4-5 times per week and have come to enjoy it quite a bit.

One of the neighborhood streets where we often walk is Blue Jay Way and the catchy name got stuck in my head quite a long while ago.

We truly enjoy our times to go strolling on Blue Jay Way; or anywhere else in the neighborhood where our wandering feet are inclined to go.

Get outdoors, friends!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

News about the Florida Park System

News about the Florida Park System

I am on email lists for a lot of different thing relating to outdoor stuff. I use parks in many systems and love getting the news and updates that come around pretty often.

I was happy to hear two days ago that the folks who make decisions for our parks system here in the Sunshine State are considering re-opening Florida Parks.

It’s not definite and there is no indication of what kind of timeline they’re thinking of if, indeed, they do decide to get things cranked up again.

As I may have mentioned here, my girlfriend and I had a reservation to camp back on the 6th and 7th of this month at one of our fave spots. That would be Wekiwa Springs State Park in Seminole County.

As fate would have it, those dates were about two weeks after all kinds of activities and facilities began to be closed down.

We were very disappointed, as you might imagine when the notification came that the State was closing the door, yet thought that it was probably the only way things could have gone.

We did receive a prompt refund for the reservation fee, but were still wishing that our trip could have gone off as planned.

I will try to reserve again if we do get the green light. That may not be easy to do as I’m thinking there will be a ton of pent-up demand. But I’m sure going to try.

If you’re also here in Florida and would like to read the notice and the potentially good news it contains, just follow this link.

I hope you get to have an outdoor adventure of two yourself. And sooner rather than later.

I’m headed back to our County and/or State Parks just as soon as I can. And you can bet that I’ll let you know about it once I’m released back into the wild!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

From the Wildlife File: a Happy Ending in Florida!

From the Wildlife File: a Happy Ending in Florida!

As you no doubt know, I’m a passionate environmentalist and advocate for wildlife.

And because we’re in such dire straits right now as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was quite happy to get a bit of nature news in my inbox just now. Some “feel good” news and I’m more than happy to pass it along.

An outdoor enthusiast passing through the Ocala National Forest a few weeks ago came upon an abandoned black bear cub on a dirt road.

This alert citizen did what anyone would do.

He took our hapless cub to a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer.

Because I’m an annual pass holder at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, I’m one of the many zoo supporters who got “the rest of the story” about our tiny, furry friend.

He’s now thriving in the care of of Zoo Curator Lauren Hinson and the rest of the staff.

If you’d like to read more about this happy situation, just follow this link.

I loved reading all about it. In fact, I could bear-ly contain my enthusiasm as I passed my delighted eyeballs over the happy missive from the PR crew at the zoo!

Yeah, sorry not sorry!

I hope you’re getting some relief today from the cares of the day. Take good care of yourself, by all means.

And look out for all God’s creatures, whether they walk around in jeans, suits or in their bear skin!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo of a different cub from Nat’l Wildlife and Pictures

Return to Moss Park

Return to Moss Park

A couple of months ago I spent a very pleasant part of a winter’s day at Moss Park.

This gem is about 4 miles from Orlando Int’l Airport and features amazing scenery and camping, among other things.

I always love making a trip and taking in all the sights. I have camped there twice and have made two other day visits to grill and take photos.

And, yes, I got some really good photos on this trip.

My companion and I enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch and then I started roaming around with camera in hand.

The banner photo is one that I especially like. The vistas in this part of the park–situated very close to the park’s entrance–are always breathtaking.

The one you see below is from that same part of the park. I always know that pix taken in those last couple of hours before sunset often turn out fabulously. On this visit, I was not disappointed.

Both our lunch and the photo expedition were wonderful. You can be sure that there will be another return to this fine outdoor spot very soon.

And when I go back, I’ll undoubtedly capture many memories and plenty of photos to go with them.

Photos like the one below, the last one I’ll share for now.

Enjoy your outdoor adventures. At this moment in our shared history, it’s all the more important to look for ways to grab a little serenity.

Taking in the beauty of some of our superlative outdoor spaces is a wonderful way to do that.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Coronavirus, the risks of comparison and a Silver Lining

Coronavirus, the risks of comparison and a Silver Lining

It’s natural that when we have a new threat–talking about the Coronavirus–that we compare it to something we already know about.

But the Coronavirus is very different from the flu that we’re all very familiar with. Different in several important ways.

This article will help greatly if you’d like to know more and see why this is a much bigger deal than, for instance, a new strain of flu.

This is affecting so many areas of our lives, as you know well.

It is and will have great effects on the way we do things together.

Let me throw out something that seems–to me, at least–to possibly be a silver lining in this very dark cloud.

One of the things that I’ve been aware of in the last day or so is that going outside and engaging in outdoor activities is most likely one of the areas of life that will be effected least while we weather this storm.

That is of considerable consolation to me right now.

I wish all of you the best. Take good care of yourselves and look out for each other, too.

Especially those whose health is not the best and are most at risk.

Ben Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

A word from Florida’s FWC with Spring on the way

A word from Florida’s FWC with Spring on the way

Each year around this time, wildlife obey Nature’s directive to shift back into high gear.

And each year, our Fish and Wildlife Commission here in the Sunshine State puts out info so the public can be “springtime savvy” as far as helping critters of all kinds is concerned.

Helping–or in many cases–just making sure that our behaviors and actions don’t hurt.

If you’re here in Florida, taking a look at the site and this helpful bulletin would be a good thing.

And it’s a very good thing for those of us who love critters to watch out for them all throughout the year no matter what neck of the woods you may be in.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile