Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mt Dora

Sun set at Trimble Park
Find the woodpecker

Kelly Park, where we stayed after Christmas is an Orange County Campground as is Moss Park in southern Orlando and so is Trimble Park just south of Mt Dora.  This winter we’ve managed to secure time in each of these parks!  Trimble Park has 15 sites (SPFB!) and is a peninsula between two lakes. Previously, site #8 was our favorite but we have now fallen in love with #7!  Our back and side yard was canopied with pine, palm and one huge gnarly live oak – all draped with delicate silver green Spanish moss that glowed when the sunlight danced thru it.  Right by the corner of our bricked patio was a good-sized Magnolia that will be spectacular when it blooms.  There was always a breeze coming off of Lake Carlson that sifted thru our big open windows.  It also brought dropping oak leaves each day that collected on the picnic table or in our shoes that had been left out on the patio!  Sunset was right off the back corner and the water rippled and distorted the pink glow.  One day while H was comfy with his book in his lawn chair and I was sewing at the picnic table I heard the loud call of a woodpecker up above us in the oak tree.  I quipped “ Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were a Pileated?”   H looked up and said it is and there are 2 of them!  It’s a good thing that digital pictures don’t cost much to take or develop as H took a million, trying to get a few good pictures of the large red-capped bird pecking away at the big gnarly tree.
  This year we even managed to ride our little fold up bikes to Mt Dora and back - 8 miles up hill and down, into the wind both ways!  In the 80-degree weather, both of us ached by the time we got back!

Last year when we stayed in Trimble, I wrote about the old restored De Haviland seaplane that we saw while exploring downtown Mt Dora.  We were once again down on the docks below the 1883 hotel when H heard the low throaty rumble of the airplane way before he saw it come over the trees on the other side of the lake!  As we stood on the dock, we watched it circle and then drop softly onto the lake and then motor back to the dock.  H talked to the owner/pilot when the returning flight guests had left the plane and we signed up for the next flight!  We learned that the “Beaver” was retired from the Army in 1977 and that it used 25 gallons of aviation fuel per hour of flight and that our flight would be about 25 minutes from take off to landing. On our flight was also a couple from Minnesota.  The rather hefty sized man was directed to sit in the front seat opposite the pilot and his wife was delegated to the rear seat by herself.  H and I shared a bench seat in the middle and had excellent views from both sides below the big wings.  Each of us had large earmuff headphones so we could talk with each other and with John the pilot and could hear him speak with other pilots in the same area.  John talked to us the entire flight and told us about the scenes that were unfolding below us.
Downtown Mt Dora

  We learned that there were 3 types of lakes in this area:  spring fed clear lakes, lakes formed by sinkholes and the 9 Harris Chain of Lakes that are all connected by dug canals and are green due to the run off of all the fertilizers from the neighboring Orange groves in the county.  We flew over Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg and Mt Dora.  John pointed out Ocala National Forest to the north and the Orlando skyline to the south!  He asked if there was anything that we especially wanted to see and in unison, H and I said “Trimble Park”.  As we flew low along the coast line of the peninsula we could see the wide boat dock that spread its fingers out in front of the neighboring campsite and a brief glimpse of the top of our long tan train thru the canopy of silver grays and green.  We saw the short water run behind our site and the channel that led from Lake Carleson to Lake Beauclare.  He flew over the giant mansion that sits on the hill on the opposite side of the lake and found out it is a private home and is on the market for a mere 7 million dollars!  As the previous flight had done, we also circled Lake Dora and gently floated down.  The only way we knew we had “landed” was the spray that flew up and away from the plane’s pontoons as we set down into the small waves.  Returning to base John deftly pointed the nose of the plane into the large “V” in the dock with perfect precision and used the dangling blue ropes to secure the aircraft back just like it was before we left on our exciting venture.  Our flight was over way too soon but we were still on a high from it for the rest of the day!

Spring has arrived in Central Florida.  The roadside grasses are now green and dotted with small pale colored wild flowers. The Cypress trees are covered with the light green haze of new growth.  The pine trees are a brighter shade of dark green instead of winter’s dull dark gray green.  Azaleas, Redbud and Dogwood are now in full bloom! Songbirds wake us (Okay – me!) each morning with their songs.   We know that the northern states are still covered with a thick layer of snow but it is time for us to move a little ways closer to home.  It’s time to move to “back to the forest”.    Salt Springs is next!