Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hontoon Island

Another adventure I've been wanting to have is visiting Hontoon Island. Hontoon Island is a beautiful state park right here in Central Florida. There's a free ferry ride over to the island and the entire park is dog friendly. This week has been a little cooler than normal (you know, only 90 degrees) so it seemed like the perfect time to head over there.

Mia was super excited for her new adventure

First, we rented a canoe for a couple hours, so Mia got her first canoe ride. She did really well, but was insistent on drinking the river water, so hopefully it doesn't make her sick. We saw some really cool stuff on our ride including a woodpecker, two manatees, blue herons, tons of turtles and a HUGE gator. We got a little too close for Aaron's comfort level though (just close enough for my camera to be able to zoom in for a picture) and when she slithered back into the water we both decided it was time to get the heck out of there - she was probably the same size as our canoe and she appeared to be sitting on a nest.

Mia's first canoe ride

Crappy picture of a manatee but they were really hard to get pictures of; they rarely came up for air and the water was so dark that as soon as they went under they disappeared.

This is the biggest gator I've ever seen in the wild, by far!

After our canoe adventure, we took Mia to hike around the island. We very quickly found out that she loves pine cones. There were also tons of sticks so she was quite a happy little camper. Along our hike we came across a gopher tortoise - they are threatened in Florida and endangered in other states (read about them here) so it was awesome to meet this little fellow. Mia couldn't figure out what the heck it was, but she had good manners and wasn't too intrusive. We also saw an armadillo, a brown watersnake and a male broad-headed skink. The only creature we weren't excited to see were ticks - they were unfortunately out in full force. I wasn't too worried about me, as they're easy to find and get rid of on us, however Mia was a little more difficult. After multiple rounds of tick checks on her this evening I've decided that she will be getting a tick collar from the vet before our next hiking adventure!

She looks so happy with her new toy :)

Nom, nom, nom, nom...

"Um, excuse me, what are you?"

Mia with her new friend (he's a little camera shy)

We finished!

Check out all of our pictures here, we had so much fun! :)

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