I first visited Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa, Florida in July 2015. It is a large place, with a small history museum, a café, a swimming pool, canoe rentals, and many trails. I took the trail along the rapids and saw three small alligators, a hawk, at least six turtles, and many giant cicada-killer wasps. They must have been attracted to all the cicadas heard singing everywhere. I also thought I heard monkeys on a nearby trail, but finally decided they were human children, which are a closely related species. Very strangely, the only mosquito to bother me was the one that greeted me when I first entered the woods. Nothing bothered me after that. That itself is amazing.
I passed by this numbered rock. I surmised it must be one of God’s prototypes. As you can see, he was already fairly good at creating rocks after only three tries. Later, I saw numbers on numerous information placards and on railings. This must be the original park that God modeled all the other parks after! Had I found Eden?
Returning to Eden:
Since I wasn’t able to take all the trails I wanted the first time, I went back in July 2016. I first thought that I would take the Old Fort King Trail south to see the parts of it I missed when I visited John B Sargeant County Park and walked north. I was surprised to find it overgrown with grass and open to the sun. It was very hot. I walked for a ways and passed a sign. I don’t know what the sign said, because as I stopped to read it, a gigantic black fly two inches long landed on it right in front of me. It looked much like a horsefly on steroids. I removed myself from the area very quickly. Looking it up later I believe it must have been a type of Mydas fly, which are harmless and also kind of rare – lucky me! Further down the trail, it was still very hot. I considered turning back, but at that exact moment I saw a patch of flowers. That was when I knew I had to keep going. There were many flies, bees, dragonflies, moths, and beetles in more colors than I could ever name.
Finally I reached the shade of the woods but soon found that it was a mixed blessing. Not five seconds after I stepped under the trees I was assaulted by about fifty mosquitoes. I pushed on for a while, but eventually had to turn back. Why were there so many? Why couldn’t 2016 be like 2015?
The Seminole were patient and clever fighters that used the swampy terrain and subtropical climate to their advantage, but they eventually lost to superior numbers and superior firepower. Also, the Floridians sometimes approached under the guise of truce in order to kidnap chiefs. Of course, the Seminole were no angels either; they even kept slaves.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.