Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Florida


Index to Our Other Letterboxes


BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER..


107. NOSEY BEE After plowing through piranha plagued pools in pursuit of purloined people, we now proceed on an alternate adventure in Myakka River State Park to go stick our noses in a busy beehive! This stamp was carved for us by Scarab of the Doubtful Guests, who have several other boxes in this park.

Myakka River State Park currently has a $5 per carload fee, but is well worth it as you can spend a whole day exploring its many features. These features, however, may include such things as swamped jungle trails, alligators, wild boar, pouring rain, hot open savannahs, and myriads of mosquitos, so please choose your season carefully so as not to feel tempted to curse us out! We lucked out with a particularly glorious cool windy day in January, so we think that December through March is probably your best bet for attempting this hike. You can also camp at one of several backcountry campsites, if you pay the extra fee and make arrangements ahead of time with the rangers. The park is located near Sarasota, FL, some 9 miles east of I-75 on route 72.

March 11, 2009
We have heard that the Bee is in good shape and awaiting visitors, but the two signs are now reduced to just the posts.

In addition to canoeing, biking and horseback riding trails, this park boasts 3 interlocked short backpacking loops. On the far end of the shortest (c. 10mi) of the backpacking loops (that's halfway around or about 5 miles in), go 85 steps east from the Bee Island campsite turn off sign to find a second sign. This second FT Bee Island sign, a white diamond with black letters, marks the indistinct blue blazed side trail to a historic site roughly 275 steps to the south. Find and follow the concrete cattle watering trough westward about 10 paces to the middle of a palm tree grove. From the northwest side of the concrete foundation, examine the northwest corner of the square, flat concrete slab where it touches the base of the palm tree in the center of the grove. Remove a few pieces of bark and a small carefully placed piece of concrete, noting its placement so you can jam it back in the same way. Find your honey stuck in its hive shaped jar tucked under the concrete slab and watch your nose!


108. BOARDWALK BEE-BOP A subtropical jaunt at the Big Cyprus Bend Boardwalk just off Rt. 41 in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (no entrance fee for this area). Stamp carved by RTRW. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Fakahatchee-Strand

10 Feb 06 - We have heard that this box is gone:
"Sometime ago they [the caretakers] found the box open and wet on the ground by the picnic table. They left it on the table for awhile even though it was empty. Then they tossed it. A few days later the logbook appeared at the table and had been soaked beyond recovery. They didn't know what it was and did not try to dry it out and it got tossed."

To find this letterbox you need to locate the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk about 7 miles west of the Rt. 29, Everglades City, junction with Rt. 41 in Everglades City, Florida.

As you walk into the lush subtropical preserve a short distance from the small parking area on the north side of the highway, there is a sign about Black Bears just west of the start of the boardwalk and just north of a picnic table. Look behind the sign a few steps southwesterly for a nearby palm tree. Find the box tucked into the palm tree in a nest around back at eye level.

Be sure to explore the boardwalk all the way to the end. We have seen alligators there every time we have visited!


580. Love Birds in Tree Tops A "welcome stop" in Welcome Park for a cute carving by Thimbelinda of MA

Well, it seems that places like south Florida and the Caribbean have some of the highest percentages of missing boxes that we have seen anywhere in our travels, and small wonder - most of the parks we have visited down there are either meticulously groomed, full of spiky plants or garbage that gets periodically removed, or have few secure hiding places for boxes to last. We had hoped to get this pair of lovebirds out to Tree Tops Park in Davie, where some boxes have apparently persevered for several years, but we only had a couple of hours to spare between flying in to the Fort Lauderdale airport and sailing out again from the cruise terminal at Port Everglades, scarcely two miles away, so we thought we would just walk on over and try to find a place to leave this stamp somewhere along the way - with the hope that some kind soul might move it to a safer spot in Tree Tops Park at some point in the future…

Anyway, to find the current location of these "lovebirds in the treetops", about halfway between the airport and the cruise terminal, simply make your way to the southern junction of Federal Highway (route 1) and Miami Rd, just south of 24th Street. From the southern point of this small triangular park, head northeast along Miami Rd. to the first wooden telephone pole, then about 10 steps further north to a tree on the left that has a crook on its south side about four feet up. There nestled in the crook in a small camp pouch, tucked carefully behind a couple of pieces of palm bark, is where we left the lovebirds. If you have a car, you may be able to park briefly on the small one-way crossover in the middle of the park that has a convenient bench nearby on its south side as well. We hope that the lovebirds can at least nest here for a short while in peace until someone has the heart to move them to a quieter spot in Tree Tops! Meanwhile, thanks for your help in keeping them safe at Welcome!


583. Wanda's Wanda-rings: Florida Trail A short new section of the Florida Trail near the Look and Tremble Rapids of the Chipola River, with stamp by Kirbert

Well, it seems that when I first backpacked the Florida Trail back in 1983, it was quite a "let-down" for me: flat, hot, wet and buggy because I started too early, right after my first Appalachian Trail and first Long Trail and well before the traditional "winter hiking season", so it seemed like everything was going wrong. What I mostly remember were days of slogging through murky bogs with seemingly interminable road walks in between, so I can't really say that I much enjoyed backpacking the Florida Trail back then. However, all of my subsequent trips down to Florida have been much more pleasant, so now I actually look forward each year to going back to re-hike some of the nicer sections and am especially glad to hear of any new sections that take the "trail" off some of those long, long road walks!

One such section that recently got taken off the road and put onto a nice piece of trail is just a few dozen miles west of Tallahassee off route 274, a mile or so east of Chason. To find this letterbox with its fine Kirbert carving of the Florida Trail route that I took way back when, begin by parking at the picnic area on the east side of the Chipola River bridge on route 274. (It is apparently called Look and Tremble Rapids Park, but the only thing to "look and tremble" at might be the graffiti or some leftover trash!) Anyway, head south through two wooden posts with orange blazes on them. Once you get away from the traffic noise, pass a metal gate and chain link fence on your left, then cross a gully, cross a nice footbridge and find a campsite right along the river. Soon afterward, as you curve left away from the river, note a thin orange-blazed cedar on the left with a rotting woodpecker tree on the right. From that spot, about 30 steps from the turnoff, take another 30 steps to an orange blazed "pony tree" on the right (not quite large enough to be a "horsey tree" to sit on yet, but getting there!) Now go 20 steps off trail at 25 degrees to a tall c.16-inch diameter pine, then 4 steps further north, and look under bark in the front V crook of rotting logs on the ground to find the Wanda's Wanda-rings Florida Trail letterbox. Now enjoy a leisurely stroll back along the river to your car - one more "brief reprieve" from the "long and winding road"!

P.S. I actually bumped into Nimblewill Nomad in Ocala National Forest a few days before planting this box, and he told me he really likes road walks, but then he probably enjoys the public exposure, too, which I always wanted to avoid while backpacking, so "to each his own" - I'll take "real trail" any day!

P.P.S. For more information on other trail that I have backpacked, please visit "Wanda's Wanda-rings"


651. Just a Little Drop of Purple Rain Nice little walk to small waterfall in "Florida hill country"

Certainly wouldn't want anyone to go out of the way just for this little rather unexpectedly planted "traveling light"*, but if you happen to find yourself heading out for some hiking or camping in the Florida State Park reminiscent of a similarly rare pine that only grows in a small area near La Jolla, CA, you might want to check out this walk, too. It's called the "Weeping Ridge Trail" and the trail head can be found just outside the campground entrance off the west side of the main entrance road before reaching a historic house and some old Civil War battlements above the river. Another trailhead is inside the campground itself, just left of the restrooms. Take either blue blazed trail to the junction, then continue down, up and down to sit on a bench near the 3-sided fence overlooking the "Weepy Seep". If you walk about 22 steps from the bench northerly along and past the west side of the fence, then curving west a bit to the north side of the second tree, you may be able to find a small purple box with a drop of rain in it there under a 1.5 inch grey somewhat raindrop- shaped stone.

*"Travelin' lights" are what we call the little stones with stamps glued on back that we have been planting for the last few years after we got tired of planting over 500 traditional boxes and having so many of them "go missing". We hope that these little stones are more likely to blend in with the environment and less likely to get picked up and thrown away as trash (although, of course, they may still get moved around by natural or unnatural processes, like raking, mowing, etc.), so just remember that for our "traveling' lights", you're looking for a tiny stone and not an actual box!


BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER..

You can find information about this hobby at Letterboxing North America (LbNA)

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