Just As Beautiful As Ever

Just As Beautiful As Ever

I did, indeed, make it back to Trimble Park near Mt Dora, Florida this week.

I had a reservation for this last Monday and Tuesday. I arrived just at the 2 PM check-in time and had camp set up within an hour or so.

I took a long stroll around the park. It’s huge. And I was struck again with just how very beautiful Trimble Park truly is.

It’s the crown jewel in the Orange County Park System in my estimation. It must be seen to be appreciated fully.

I was a bit apprehensive about this outing as our weather here in Central Florida has been awful. Lots of heat and lots and lots of rain.

That’s not unusual by any means, but it can make certainly put a damper on outdoor activities, camping especially.

When I began to set up, I realized that I do tote around quite a bit of gear. You can see a lot of it in this photo. The funny thing is that this was only roughly 2/3 of what I actually carry. But unpacking the whole car to take that photo would simply have taken too much time.

The whole site got very, very wet on the first night as we had a very intense thunderstorm come through. Nothing unusual there.

Because the rain fly works well on my Coleman Picton 2 tent, the water inside the tent was bearable. Especially since I sleep on a recliner and not on the ground.

But it was still a serious snafu as it took me until noon on Tuesday to get the tent completely dry.

The weather folk predicted that Tuesday night would be as wet or wetter than Monday, so I thought it through and made the decision to cut short this outing.

My main camera was malfunctioning as well, making the decision to abort the second half of my stay seem even more inevitable.

But I did get some good pix with the cell camera. Such a good thing that we carry a decent camera around with us wherever we go! Mine has come through for me on a number of occasions.

Something I always enjoy is making camp coffee each morning. You know, the kind of coffee you can only get by perking it the old-fashioned way!

The coffee Tuesday morning was glorious and almost made me forget all about the wet gear which would soon require nearly all my attention for about three hours.

And my usual first-morning breakfast of fried eggs and grits was tasty. Alas, there was not to be any second-morning breakfast.

I broke camp around 1 PM, shortly after getting everything bone-dry and ready to stow.

The other thing that went well on this abbreviated outing was that I brought enough wood to keep my campfire burning for over three hours. That part of the trip was awesome. I had no rain on the site after about midnight so I didn’t turn in until almost 4 AM!

But I’ll gladly lose sleep to have the pleasure of tending a fire for a few hours. Didn’t cook anything in it on this trip, but it still scratched that itch for me, as it does each time.

It’s true that this outing was not all it could have been. But this saying is still true for me as I wrap up this post:

The worst day in the woods is better than the best day spent indoors!

Old Camper’s Saying

I hope your next outing is perfect. I know for certain that it will be worthwhile!

“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

Back to Canaveral National Seashore Yesterday

Back to Canaveral National Seashore Yesterday

Had a ball yesterday at the National Park that’s the closest to me. Yes, that would be Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville, Florida.

This laid-back sea-side experience is by far the best way to enjoy a trip to the beach. To me, at least!

Such a fine and mellow outing it was. Can’t remember the last time I had that much fun!

My companion for this trip had never seen the Atlantic in that glorious and simplified fashion before; she loved it, to say the least. And we’re going back soon.

We did not miss the tacky beach-side rentals and masses of sunburned visitors at all.

I hope all of you have had an outdoor adventure of your own recently. If not, plan one now and then just DO IT!

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

© Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Record spending for the Environment in Florida

Record spending for the Environment in Florida

One of the really important headlines coming out of Florida this last week was about the just-passed budget for the coming year and how it highlights new priorities in the Sunshine State.

Make no mistake, this thorough re-ordering of spending priorities is a direct result of Gov. Ron DeSantis replacing former Governor and infamous boot-licker Rick Scott.

Some quick facts to help you get a feel for what this new budget in Florida can mean:

  • $100 million for spring restoration in several locations
  • $417 million for Everglades restoration in particular
  • $40 million for alternative water supply
  • $25 million for research to combat blue-green algae and red tide, specifically.

If you’d like to dive a little deeper into this issue of the new budget and how it impacts our Florida environment, here’s a link to an excellent article that just ran in the latest issue of Florida Weekly.

This development has certainly been heartening for those of us who keep a close eye on environmental issues in the Sunshine State. Gov. DeSantis has been commended over and over again for stepping up on this issue, as well he should.

I’m hopeful that we all will still be offering kudos to Mr Desantis for his wise and serious advocacy for Florida’s environment as his time in office draws to a close.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

DeSantis, Environmental Hero?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a big-time supporter of Donald trump. That was the cornerstone of his primary campaign when he was in a serious fight with fellow conservative and Florida Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam to get the nomination on the Republican side.

You can count me with the environmentally-minded voters who believed at the time that the election of DeSantis was going to mean, at minimum, four more years of of disastrous policies for the environment in the Sunshine State. And for the everglades, in particular.

I am very surprised and incredibly relieved to say that those fears were unfounded. I’m delighted to report that DeSantis has shown in at least three ways, that he’s for real about standing up to Big Sugar in Florida and doing all he can to protect our fragile, beleaguered environment here in the Sunshine State.

What I mean, specifically: he issued executive orders to reverse some of Rick Scott’s horrible policies affecting Florida’s ecosystems.

He sacked pretty much everyone who served on any of Florida’s five water management boards and replaced them with people who actually care about environmental issues and were not lackeys of Big Sugar.

And he immediately beefed up funding for efforts to clean up the Everglades. That included a strong commitment by the State to get the project to complete the Everglades reservoir taken off the back burner.

In an opinion piece published on January 11th, Carl Hiaasen, writing in the Miami Herald, summed up some of these happy and completely-unexpected developments. It’s a good place to start if you’d like to see why many folks in Florida are happily admitting that they had Gov. DeSantis pegged all wrong as far as our state’s environmental issues are concerned.

I still believe that Florida’s interests writ large would have been better served by the election of Andrew Gillum.

But I also believe that it’s always appropriate to give credit where credit is due and I’m delighted to say that Mr DeSantis has–at least up to this point in his time as the state’s chief executive–definitely proved that he is a strong friend of Florida’s environment.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

I did get back there and…

I did get back there and…

I enjoyed my camping trip to Tosohatchee WMA just beyond Christmas. That awesome but tiny little town is the last community before the Orange-Brevard line.

Had a good time but I did learn one unpleasant lesson: even in a Wildlife Management Area, where you can go days without seeing another human, you really should keep your car locked at all times.

Or, at the very least, you shouldn’t keep that hatch up while you’re doing stuff at your camp site!

My awesome camp coffee maker flew away! Bummed. But I have another. Just couldn’t get the juice of the sacred bean on this trip!

Still very glad I made the trip and got my outdoor fix for the next week or two.

Then I’ll have to have another, or I’ll start getting a little cross-eyed and stuff!

I did get some good pix. Including the banner photo at the top. That was on the extreme edge of Tosohatchee, where it dead ends into the St. Johns River.

Herons and thieves. What a combo! So glad to have gone. Planning the next excursion…

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Sheldon is New at the Zoo!

Sheldon is New at the Zoo!

There are three fine zoos within easy driving distance of my part of Florida. I love them all.

The Brevard Zoo in Melbourne is a real pleasure. I’ve spent many hours there checking out the wildlife and I’ve done the zip line, too. A fine facility from start to finish.

And now they have a new dragon! No, I’m completely serious!

His name is Sheldon, he’s an 11 year-old Komodo Dragon and you can find him in the Lands of Change exhibit!

If you’re anywhere around Central Florida, take a trip to Melbourne and pay a visit to Sheldon!

And tell him Bulldog sent you!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile