Saturday, April 9, 2011

Trip 35: Tomoka State Park

State Parks visited:  30

Tomoka State Park is one of our local parks in the city of Ormond Beach.  It has many different things to do, and I think we got the most out of our time there, with the exception of camping. We did so much, in fact, that we broke it up into two different visits!  The first time included me, Rob, Olivia, Chris, and Danielle, on a surprise visit from Philadelphia.

The first visit took us to Tomoka in our kayaks, and we launched from this tiny little park.  We made a stop at a nearby island for some geocaching and almost had to cut the trip short when Olivia cut her toe open in an oyster bed.  Thankfully we were able to doctor her toe from our first aid kit, and we moved on.  A few highlights:

The hunt for the geocache was unsuccessful, but we did manage to find something else:  a freshly abandoned camp, complete with burning campfire.  Rob saved the day and doused the fire before we left.  Remember, if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.  Thanks, Chris!

From the island, we paddled across the Halifax River and entered the outer limits of Tomoka.  The weather was beautiful and we had fun relaxing on our first day on the water this year!

All those little spots on the shore are crabs!

A few other photos:

Pretty soon we rounded a turn and found ourselves at the boat launch for the park.  We stopped here and explored the park on foot.

There were a few geocaches to be found, and we were successful in all of them.  We also found a random stop sign in the middle of the road:

Apparently someone has a sense of humor...

From here we walked a little trail, saw a gopher tortoise out for a stroll, and had a picnic lunch. 

We saw this guy, too:

Chris put Olivia to work and we all paddled back to the park we launched from. 

Crossing the Halifax was very rough on the return trip, but it was a good experience for us.  Also, we were fortunate enough to see a bald eagle soaring overhead while we paddled.  Awesome!

Our second trip to Tomoka was a couple of weeks later.  We arrived by car this time, and by 'we' I mean me, Rob, Olivia, and Chris.  There are several historic markers and a huge statue in the park that we missed on our first visit:

We watched this tortoise from a distance:

Then we walked down to the shoreline and explored a bit.

Pretty soon we made our way back to the statue of Chief Tomokie and, eventually, home.

Our two trips to the park were great!  It was nice visiting something local.  It gave us the freedom to take our time and not worry about missing anything.  If we didn't see something the first time, we came back and saw it later.  Gotta love that!

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