Our attempt to try something a little different, send us in a direction we haven’t gone yet, South. Our goal was to take a short drive south to Hardee county and enjoy what Hardee Lakes Park has to offer. This park has four good sized lakes, with a boat ramp on each, great for fishing, camping, horse riding, and hiking. This park is on land once owned and used by Mosaic; the property was restored by Mosaic and donated to the county back in 2001.
We prepped the RV and truck and headed south on our short forty-five-mile journey mostly along Rte 37. The trip was short and sweet, except for the swarms of Love Bugs we had to endure to get there. We drove past the Paynes Creek Solar Farm project and a Mosaic plant along the way. We arrived at the entrance pretty quickly and easily found our campsite. The place had many vacancies due to Mother’s Day weekend.
The site was number forty-three, a pull thru right in front of Deer Lake. The ground was hard and level, with some shade trees on one side. The lake view was open, spacious, and beautiful. We set up camp pretty quickly and enjoyed a lunch, which is something we rarely get to do on the first day. That afternoon we spent mostly relaxing outside, enjoying our waterfront home’s view and with the help of an electric fan and a brisk breeze to keep the lovebugs at bay.
The Restroom was only about 200 feet away, which was very convenient. The Pump-Out station was right in front of it.
Saturday started early with Tom waking me up so I could catch the beautiful sunrise. The birds were singing; the fishermen were all out in their boat fishing, and we were enjoying a short walk with the dogs before breakfast.
After breakfast, we decided to tour the whole park. We jumped into the car and drove on every road we could find surrounding three of the four lakes. Some of the roads were not much more than a trail thru the woods. We stopped at a couple of boardwalk trails so we could catch the sight they had to offer.
The words peaceful and serene were always on our minds. We observed a couple of alligators as we walked around the lake. Some people told me they had seen deer and others said they saw snakes, but we did not.
After lunch, we decided to drive to Paynes Creek Historic State Park, which was close by in Bowling Green. We intended to see what it has to offer, see Peace River, and see Paynes Creek. Canoe Launch Road, which led to the peace river, was narrow one lane winding dirt road. You hoped the whole way that you wouldn’t run into someone going the other way. When we got to the end, there was a small parking area with two or three cars in it. At the bottom of the stairs was the crystal clean, clear Peace River.
There were a couple of people in the water nearby. When I inquired what they were doing, they responded that they were looking for fossils. They said their most common find was Shark’s Teeth. I’m sure there is an interesting story behind why there are sharks teeth in a river in Central Florida.
We headed down the road in hopes of finding the way to Paynes Creek. We found a parking lot at the end of the road, where we ran into someone and asked directions. Lucky for us the creek was only a short hike down the trail to the left. The park was definitely worth the trip; we would go back again sometime, earlier in the day when it not so hot.
We headed back to our campsite and just sat in our chairs to enjoy the rest of our day.The next day we had a good breakfast, broke down the campsite, and headed home.