Halpatiokee Park Photos

gopher tortoise

I merged the separate pages of photos into the blog posts, but here’s the report on my first visit on February 7, 2007. You can see the other posts by clicking the Halpatiokee Regional Park link under Categories, or by using the search engine. (Photos from other birding and nature trips are index under the Other Nature Trips category.)

tortoise thumbnail

Halpatiokee (supposedly a Native American word for “Alligator River”) Park is about 3 miles (5 km) from home, tucked in between the South Fork of the St. Lucie River and Interstate 95. Clicking on the thumbnail images below will open larger versions (images may load slowly on dialup connections!). Use your browser’s Back button to return to this page.

trailThe trail is wide enough for vehicles, but only walking and bicycling are allowed. There are two sections, the Tortoise Trail and the Otter Trail, that are not contiguous. But the gap is short and covered by a paved sidewalk.

along the river 1       along the river 2       along the river 3       along the river 4       along the river 5

This stretch of the St. Lucie River twists and turns and the trail meets it in several places.

sunbathing turtleI snuck up on some sunbathing turtles just in time. A minute later a boat came by and sent them running (for turtles) for cover.

gopher tortoiseThe Tortoise trail is appropriately named. Here’s a gopher tortoise. They dig burrows, thus the name. Turtles and tortoises were the only animals I saw that moved slowly enough for me to take their pictures. The otters must have paid to get naming rights to their trail, because I never saw one. Fortunately, I never saw any alligators either. But a red-tailed hawk and turkey vulture, who separately broke cover next to the trail as I approached, were enough excitement. The hawk flew so close I thought it was going to steal my hat.

Other animals seen included armadillos and a feral pig. Oh, and a doberman pinscher and Labrador retriever, both of which were friendly but probably not kindly received by the native population.

Several roads and smaller trails lead off the main trails, and are not marked. On the way back to my car I got a little turned around and discovered more of the park than I really wanted to yesterday. But now I know about those paths I plan to concentrate on them during my next visit.