Friday, December 13, 2013

Do the Fish Eat or Get Eaten at Fisheating Creek?

We ended our time in Williston, Florida, with a visit from my old, high school friend Forrest Ring and his wife Rose, who live in Ocala. I hadn't seen Forrest in probably over 39 years. It was nice to see him again. We had a lovely time with both of them.

Rob and I laughed over the name of this creek. We imagined piranha-like fish gobbling up anything worth devouring. And we imagined the fish getting eaten by people, birds and alligators alike. Well, there are no piranha, but there are birds and gators. So its the fish that get eaten. The name Fisheating Creek actually came from the Seminole indians. They called it "Thlothlopopka-Hatchee," which means 'the river where fish are eaten.' Imagine how bountiful the creek must have been during the time of the Seminoles. The creek is approximately 45 miles long and it flows through Cypress Swamp to Lake Okeechobee, which is a huge body of water in southern Florida. The creek eventually becomes part of Cowbone Marsh before merging into the waters of Lake Okeechobee. Fisheating Creek is the second largest natural source of water, about 9%, for this lake. 

Fisheating Creek runs through the state campground where we are staying. We hadn't originally planned to stay here. We were going to stay further east at a campground next to 'Lion Country Safari' just west of West Palm Beach where, we were told, we'd be able to hear the lions roar during the night. But, we changed our plans in order to see our friends, Mike and Janet, again, whom we met at Summersville Lake in West Virginia. I do miss the opportunity to hear the lions upon the night air, though, and to see our cats' reactions.

While we were in Vero Beach visiting our good friend, Judy Glas Powell, we drove two hours down to Coconut Creek, which is located in the midst of asphalt, concrete and traffic just south of the West Palm Beach area. We went to there to meet and spend a few hours with our son-in-law, Steve's, grandparents Aldo and Vonnie Camillucci, who, by the way, are sweet, kind, generous, wonderful folks. Although we had already changed our plans to Fisheating Creek, we were decidedly glad we did after driving through the area. We even gave up the idea of exploring Miami strictly because we don't want to fight the population and the inevitable traffic created by them.

During our conversation with Aldo and Vonnie, Rob asked them how they ended up deciding to retire in Florida. They were like many people who live north on the eastern seaboard. Everybody retires to Florida. But, they admitted that selling their home in Paramus, New Jersey, some 20 plus years ago before moving to Florida, had been a tremendous mistake. It felt right to them then, but now that they are in their 80s, they realize they should have kept a place to go to when they needed the help and support of family in their older years. Although they were speaking strictly of themselves, I took their sentiments as advice for our future. I know we will sell our Bay Area home eventually, but I now know that when we are ready to settle in one place, again, it will be near family. Simple as that.

As I mentioned, we spent some time in Vero Beach with our friend, Judy. We went out for Mexican food, took a bus trip to Mount Dora, Florida, where they celebrate Christmas with lights, art and street performances, and Judy and I walked the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. At the Refuge, I was most impressed by a boardwalk they built leading to the observation deck. It was built of that new plastic material that looks like wood, but lasts much longer. There was a section where every other board was laser cut with the names, locations and years dedicated of all the National Wildlife Refuges throughout the country. Some 560 of them. The first was Pelican Island NWF in 1903. The year 1936 was all about North Dakota. I wish I had taken a photograph or two of the boardwalk and can't figure out why I didn't. I hope I've learned my lesson.

A fun surprise found while on a walk at Williston Crossing RV Resort

Inside the old ice cream truck.

Apparently part of the land bought by the RV park owner included a few old vehicles.

A De Soto! How about that.

If I remember correctly, I think this was inside the old De Soto.

Frogs and lizards were found living inside these marvelous relics.

Where did these little plants get their nutrients?

Spooky observing the outdoors.

One of the wonderful, aesthetic features found at Williston Crossing.

The Beast.

An old railway ran through this property and they left behind a few cars and some track.

Aldo and Vonnie Camillucci. Mighty fine people, indeed.

Judy Glas Powell.

Some awesome concrete work in Mount Dora. Too bad the bookstore has closed.

A sample of the festive lights found in Mount Dora.

Line dancing to some fun jazz music by 'Those Guys Jazz.' 

The Masonic Lodge in Mount Dora.

At the Pelican Island NWR.

My little buddy at Captain Hiram's Restaurant in Sebastian, Florida.

No wonder there were no pelicans at the refuge. They were waiting at Captain Hiram's for dinner!

Mine! Mine! Mine! — pelican style.

At Fisheating Creek Outpost.

The fish were jumping at Fisheating Creek.

Fisheating Creek.

Love the roots of the tree.

An alligator eating a fish at Fisheating Creek. This guy was probably a good 10 feet long.

Hunting for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Great story and photos! Thank you for sharing with the world. We will follow some of your path next week as a group of 22 from South Florida. Take Care!
    The Meeks/Ruckers/Fazekas Group (March, 2014)