Had a Fabulous Time at LKSP

Lake Kissimmee State Park is about ten miles outside of Lake Wales, Florida. It’s a spot we always enjoy when we have a chance to get out there again.

About two weeks ago we made it out again for 3 days/2 nights of camping and had a great time.

There are so many beautiful sites all over this park. As you may have heard me say repeatedly, the Florida State Park system is one of the best in the country and LKSP is a real gem.

Here’s a part of the park I’m very fond of. It makes for plenty of photo opportunities and it leads to the observation deck one finds at the edge of the part of the park reserved for camping.

This is a view of the part of the park where you can set off in three different directions. One of those leads but to the camp store. I’ll have a little more to say about that in a while.

About that store. Here’s the thing I like about it: it’s stocked with all the staples one expects when camping at just about any State or County park. The thing I don’t like: this one is only open Friday through Sunday. Now it’s true that we can get all the same stuff and more at the General Store about a mile outside the Park’s entrance. But I’d like to see them open for more than three days. We usually book in the middle of the week because of our work schedules and would love to have that option on our camping excursions.

A little more detail: it’s called the “Cracker Shack General Store” and is situated a manageable walking distance from most camp sites, quite close if you’re driving. And it’s right on the edge of the marina and the main boat ramp. And sells–among many other things–the live bait that anglers in the Park need to bring in the day’s catch.

I mentioned an observation tower and another “General Store” located outside the boundaries of the Park and I’ll have more to say about those two things in posts coming soon. But that’s a rundown of some of the features at Lake Kissimmee State Park that stand out for me. And it will do for now.

Truthfully, I’ve just scratched the surface here. To learn more about this fabulous Park–including how to book your own camping adventure–just follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Summer’s Officially Here

I wrote officially there in the title of this piece because it’s been feeling very summer-y for quite a long while here in Central Florida.

I’d be willing to bet that you’ve noticed the same thing wherever you are. The Planet is most definitely warming and you can feel it no matter which corner of the Orb you’re living in.

Not getting on my soapbox today, just saying that it’s hot here where I am and I’m longing to see some more moderate temps. If you’re singing from that same sheet of music, I feel ya!

Now, to be clear, I don’t stop enjoying outdoor activites while Apollo is working overtime. But when it’s blistering-hot, I do throttle back a bit. No long hikes for this puppy for a little while.

So here’s to Autumn and the cooling off we look forward to each year. For this overheated, Nature-loving fellow, that can’t come soon enough!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Drink Java, Live Longer

I just finished another delicious, life-giving cup of coffee. I’ve always known my regular obsessive consumption of the juice of the sacred bean had beneficial effects. And a recently-published study confirms it… again! With or without added sugar, I hasten to add.

Here’s to all of my sisters and brothers who’re also cashing in on coffee’s benefits! Let’s celebrate with another cup o’ joe!

To read the study’s results, follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Ben Lawrence Basile

Return to Lake Louisa

It was last week when I had another chance to pitch my tent at Florida’s Lake Louisa State Park. I had a blast.

My girlfriend and I had camped there twice before and we’ve made three day visits there to take advantage of the lovely beach in the Park. Joan was on a road trip with her daughter and I opted to camp solo this time, something I’ve done a jillion times and always love.

I wouldn’t say that it’s my fave in the Florida State Park system, but it is first-rate and has another not-to-be-discounted advantage for this outdoor nut: it’s really close to home.

L.L.S.P. is just outside the City of Clermont in Central Florida, close to where Lake and Polk counties meet. Although it offers many fabulous things to do, outside of camping, it’s the actual lakefront beach on Lake Louisa that I like best. A photo of the beach from our day visit in early May is right here:

There are many other options for outdoor lovers who’d like to check out this prime spot in the Central Florida region: Glamping in the Park’s pre-set up luxury tents with AC as well as what they’re calling eco-camping in a separate primitive section closer to the stables. (No hook-ups there; only porta-johns provided).

The two main loops which provide over fifty spaces to accommodate RV’s and tents–with full hook up’s–have access to excellent rest rooms and showers, as well as laundry. That’s standard in the Florida State Parks system.

Equestrian and true primitive camping can be found in a section away from the main camping areas, closer to the beach at Lake Louisa.

Love the outdoors but not really into roughing it? There’s a whole separate complex of cabins for those who aren’t into RV’s or tents located a little closer to the Park entrance. The cabins are well-suited for large families or groups of all kinds.

There are also extensive hiking trails–many from which to choose. I’ve observed that these are popular with day visitors. There are three other lakes in the park besides Lake Louisa and other amenities as well. The rates for the horseback riding are reasonable and are one of the offerings you can take advantage of that you won’t find at most of our Parks here in the Sunshine State.

So whether your next outdoor adventure is in this part of the world or some other, make sure you do in fact get off the couch and get outdoors! You’ll be glad you did!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Today is Arbor Day 2022

It most certainly is and I look forward to it each year. I’ve been a supporter of the Arbor Day Foundation for years and it’s one of the things I do each year — more often than that, actually — that I look forward to with anticipation and excitement.

To learn more about the work of the Arbor Day Foundation, just follow this link.

It’s well known that our Planet is in dire straits now and has been for a long time. And although we can’t pursue only one or two courses of action to help her in her time of urgent need, the planting of more trees is one very good action we can easily take.

Planting or helping to plant a tree today would be a wonderful thing to do. Contributing to an org like the Arbor Day Foundation would be marvelous.

Watering, pruning or otherwise caring for a tree in your corner of our Planet would be, as well.

Best of all is to cultivate the habit of taking these actions all through the year.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tomorrow, millions of Americans will…

It is Earth Day today and there are plenty of events to mark the occasion.

For many who pay attention to the annual celebration, tomorrow — being Saturday — will be the day to attend community events about Earth Day. In doing so, they will help to move forward a tradition that has been effective in so many ways, large and small, to keep ordinary people aware and engaged as the urgency of taking care of our Planet becomes more clear with every year that passes.

Hooray for Earth Day!

Having said all that, many people who pay close attention of the plight of the Earth are questioning whether there’s any lasting value to holding an annual fete like this one, when humanity is neither ready nor willing to take the hard actions necessary to keep our Planet from becoming uninhabitable in the next ten generations.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to keep observing this Day. And it’s up to each one of us to make it worthwhile and effective. Listening to another presentation about green living and then chowing down on some tasty vegan fare won’t do a whole lot to take us where we need to go. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with those things, of course.

Using the occasion to help us strengthen our resolve to keep raising awareness, holding elected officials to account and calling out the deniers and perpetual foot-draggers can be effective.

May Earth Day 2022 help us all to do that.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Wonderful fragrance in my kitchen

There is, and the reason for that is… it’s National Banana Bread Day.

I just took that fresh loaf out of the oven. I’ve had a very busy day so I’m only just now getting around to it, but there’s no way I was gonna let the day pass without doing my share!

I hope you’ve had a kitchen adventure or two lately. If not, perhaps this humble blog post can remind you of how much fun it is to whip up some Kitchen Masterpiece regularly.

Some baking in your short-term future? Nothing wrong with that!

“Baker Ben” Basile

© 2022 Benjamin Lawrence Basile
Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Today’s the Day!

There is a Day to celebrate a thousand things around here and I’ve got to say that I’m not in the least impressed with most of them.

Among to ones that I do feel are worthwhile is today’s celebration. And I’m referring — of course — to National Drink Wine Day!

I enjoyed a crisp and delicious Sauvignon Blanc last night before bedtime. In addition to be a pretty damn good wine, it does help me slip off to Dreamland on nights when I could use a wee bit of help.

There are plenty of good reasons to enjoy the fruit of the vine when you’re so inclined.

Today, you have one more.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Benjamin Lawrence Basile
Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Yes, the Oceans are Warming

When the subject of climate change comes up, it’s natural to begin thinking about the places where you live, the places you know and whether they’re heating up, whether they’re changing. Or whether they’re experiencing unusual, bad or problematic weather.

This is a normal thing to do when we sift through the mountains of articles, studies and data focusing on the environment and the changes we see all around us.

Well, here’s something you may not have thought about: The changes in sea temperature are really a more accurate way to track the ways in which the Planet is warming. And how much she’s warming.

The Conversation is an Australia-based academic journal and it ran an article this week that helps to explain how this works. It can be a big help when laypeople like you or me are trying to wrap our minds around this phenomenon and what some of the consequences of rising sea temperatures are likely to be.

I recommend the informative and well-documented article highly; we are long-past the time when we can afford to ignore or downplay the signs of the catastrophic change happening all over the planet.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Today is National Bird Day

Did you wake up this morning with “Birds on the Brain?” I think I can explain why! This gem ran originally on Nat’l Bird Day, 2021.

Enjoy the Outdoors. Love the Planet.

It surely is and so I’m offering my favorite bird photo of the last ten years. I took the banner photo back in 2016 at Trimble Park in Orange County, Florida. It was a keeper and I’ve featured it before. A long time ago, I hasten to add.

And in 2012 my camera caught Peter Pelican at an opportune moment. I don’t think he was too eager to have his picture taken; he was flying away at warp speed, in fact.

But I got him! This was at Cocoa Beach on a cloudy October afternoon just eight years ago. My, the time passes so quickly…

Enjoy the beauty and majesty of nature. If a part of the beauty you take in today includes some choice winged and feathered specimens, it would be so appropriate.

Not that you can’t the other 364 days of the year!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2021…

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