Little Manatee River State Park in Wimauma, Florida has two entrances. North of the river directly off 301 is a 6.5 mile trail loop and primitive camping site. South of the river is where the main campground, playground, picnic areas, and more trails are. I have been many times and I usually visit the north.
Shortly after entering the woods, the trail splits. To the left it runs along a part of the river, sometimes overlooking it from high banks, other times running through boggy areas. This is where I have seen snakes, large turtles, centipedes, beautiful spiders, and many sweet flowers. To the right the trail runs through a dry area with several open places covered by either grass or palmetto. This is where I have seen birds, dragonflies, and a dead tree swarmed by dozens of bees. Once when visiting the south side of the river, I saw two bobcats in a tree! Even in the winter, I always find some animal life – even if it is only a distant vulture.
Even though I have been before, it seems I am always finding new things I never noticed before, such as trees with unique twists in them, single charred trees while nothing around them is burned, and trees in various states of decay. The last time I went, I saw a hollow stump I had never before noticed. Only the bark remained, greatly resembling puff pastry. I also saw several trees with swollen balls on their branches – and not all in the same part of the trail. Are they truly new? Or by noticing one was my mind primed to notice the others? I was also noticing the odd shapes of large flakes of wood scattered everywhere. What goes on when I’m not there?
215 Lightfoot Road, Wimauma, Florida
Written By Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com