For Ed's birthday on Tuesday the 29th, we took the dogs and spent the afternoon doing some geocaching at Honeymoon Island State Park, on a barrier island off Dunedin, just north of Tampa. We bought sandwiches on the way and enjoyed them in the picnic area of the park. We were among just a handful of folks visiting. Temps were in the 70's with a breeze that made the day a bit cool for sunbathing, so the park was peaceful and quiet.
Our first stop was the mile-long Osprey Trail. Three osprey were busy constructing two huge nests. The park ranger told Ed that he expected babies to hatch in 2-3 weeks. Here's a pair of adult osprey perched high in the trees.
Duncan was more interested in this earth-bound gopher tortoise. As he barked excitedly, the tortoise withdrew into his shell a bit, then reappeared and lumbered off.
After finding our first cache on Honeymoon Island, hidden along the Osprey Trail, our next stop was the Rotary Centennial Nature Center. This building was originally a bathhouse that has been restored and "re-purposed".
Behind the Center lies an educational nature trail. We learned that this common palm tree is properly called a "Sabal Palmetto."
The trail leading to another cache followed along St. Joseph Sound, popular with kayakers. These mangrove trees held the cache.
Duncan & Roxie helped Ed investigate the cache of trinkets, hidden in a camouflaged ammo box at the base of a mangrove tree.
Late in the afternoon, we tried to find the dog-friendly beach. But it's about a one-mile walk so we skipped it, as none of us had that much energy left. I did catch this view of the Tampa skyline from the main beach.
This row of beach swings invited me to sit and watch the sunset, but it grew too cool to stay outside comfortably.
From inside the van, we watched the sun sink beyond the horizon over the Gulf of Mexico. It brought back memories of the Oregon coast, where it was a nightly ritual to stop whatever we were doing to watch the sun set over the ocean.