October 6, 2019
It was, finally, time! The weather has given us a little reprieve from that Florida summer heat. I had been wanting to get outside and hike some local trails for months, but it had simply been too hot. At last, a Sunday morning has rolled around with a light breeze and a renewed freshness in the air.
I decided to head to Honeymoon Island State Park. The park opens at 8am, and has an entrance fee of $8.00 per car. I was there well before the gates opened, as were many other eager park-goers waiting to get a start on this gorgeous day. Honeymoon Island is about 2 miles from downtown Dunedin, and is accessed by a causeway that is popular for all sorts of water-sports.
I decided to hike the Osprey Trail, which then links to the Pelican Trail for the return trip. The trails are 2.4 miles round trip. The surface on the Osprey Trail is an easy hike with a nice, hard trail that has occasional soft areas of sand. The return trip on the Pelican Trail is full of soft sand, which made for a bit more challenging hike.
When I have hiked this trail in the past, there has been abundant wildlife activity.
This morning I only saw a few different species of small birds and some ospreys. There was a bald eagle’s nest high in the tree, but no one was home.
Bug spray is an absolute must for this hike. I’m glad I thought to pack some before I left home. I had to reapply, twice, during the hike. Although, I think the mosquitoes seemed to be ignoring the fact that I was supposed to be protected from their unwanted attention.
At the turnaround point where the Osprey Trail turns into the Pelican Trail, there is a beautiful secluded spot overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway with an enticing wooden bench in which to have a break at the halfway mark. On the return, there was a little water across the trail, which meant I got my new Merrills wet … aarrgh. By 9.30 am the cicadas had started with their boisterous chirping. This always reminds me of summer in Australia, where those loud bugs drown out what the person next to you is saying!
The hike took about 1.5 hours, with the intermittent stop. I had a cool drink on the porch of the Honeymoon Café, and was lucky enough to spot a few dolphins swimming close to shore.
The park also has a Nature Center, which is well worth a visit. It details the history of Honeymoon Island. In fact, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island were once one island. After a hurricane in the 1920’s, they became separated. It has information on all the wildlife found in the park, and some cool animal bones, turtle shells, and snake skins for the viewing.
If you are seeking a little break from the every day hustle and bustle and enjoy nature, check out Honeymoon Island. You won’t be disappointed!