Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Johnathan Dickenson State Park Florida

I've already written about this park being state park heaven. I enjoyed my stay in site #67 which had a view of the entire campground. It was on a "hill" (Florida standards) and was breezy all the time. This park was hit by three hurricanes and a wild land fire therefore it is a brand new campground. All the sites are level and have full hookups.

It is flanked by the Federal Hwy and Loxahatchee River. This river is great for kayaking and has hiking trails around it. I went on a river tour in a pontoon boat which is one of the many programs offered by the park. This tour took us to the camp of Trapper Nelson. Nelson was somewhat of a hermit. He kept buying property in the area until he had about 1100 acres. He would offer his property to scout troops to come and visit his "zoo" and they would work for him just to get to stay at his place. We were fortunate to have one on his "scouts" on board who had brought his two sons to see the place. The guided tour was very good, however getting to listen to someone who had been there as a boy was most interesting. He said his troop cut a lot of wood during their weekend there. They slept above the churt, at least I believe that is what it was called, which was basically a hand hewn log pavilion that had a floor in the top and they slept in sleeping bags.

Nelson was quite the conservationist. He lived off the land. He caught his water in a cistern and had piping going through out his camp. He caught turtles and kept them in a concrete block bottom cage so they wouldn't tunnel out. The turtles were what he ate. He could pay people .25 to bring in rattle snakes and baby alligators for his "zoo." He would sell air plants and oranges + other fruit when visitors came to visit his "zoo." He died in 1968, legend has it that he was killed for his property. Good tour if you are in the area. The cost is $20 including taxes.

On the river we saw osprey nests and one small alligator. The interpreter was very knowledgable about the area and gave us tidbits of information about the culture of the area. Loxahatchee is the Seminole Indian word for river of Turtles.

While in the area be sure to eat at Shrimpers and Wahoo's. Wahoo's has great food and music.


1 comment:

Margie and Roger said...

Sounds like a good tour. Wow, that campsite really was nice. Glad you finally posted your photos!