Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alafia River State Park (Lithia, FL)

Alafia River State Park in Lithia has proven to be a great location.  It opened in 1998, covers 6000+ acres and was formerly the site of a phosphate mine.  The park has 20 miles of equestrian trails and another 20 miles of "mountain" bike trails.  The "mountains" are the remnants of the mining operation.  The phosphate mining closed prior to the 1975 reclamation act.  The countryside was left greatly scarred and the result is some radical terrain.  Trails are rated from easy to extremely difficult.  I figured I could breeze through the easy ones as a warm up.  May I say I was lucky to survive.  The easy trails covered several miles.  They were mighty gnarly......dude!!  Every step of the way included roots, rocks, deep sand, trees that are way low or too close to safely pedal between, wooden bridges, mud, dragons, armed terrorists, monsters etc.  I may have gotten carried away but you get the picture.  I was smiling and laughing at myself the entire time.  I did try an intermediate trail and that was nothing less than death defying. I inadvertently got air (front wheel only) several times What a blast!!!!  I will have to save the difficult and extremely difficult trails for a time when I'm about 30 years younger!!!

The campground facilities here are neat and clean.  The sites are spacious and nicely spaced. A few even have a view of a scenic lake.  No water view for us this time, but it was a very short walk  to enjoy the views.

Debbie and and I have had a great time with our birding.  I won't bore you with our list but I'm confident Debbie will add some bird pictures!

We saw quite a few of the easily identified Cardinals

and Killdeer

We were excited to identify this more uncommon Eurasian Collared Dove

Lots of birds here to try to identify!

A few days we traveled to some other parks in the area.  We went to Lithia Springs County Park.

The main attraction there is, brace yourself, at least two large natural springs.  It's open to the public for swimming.  It was mighty pretty.

 We visited the Aldermans Ford County Park.

There's a great paved trail that includes an elaborate system of raised boardwalks through the woods and adjacent to the Alafia River.

 There's even exercise stations along the trail.

We also went to the The Little Manatee River State Park.

 It straddles, yes, the Little Manatee River,  which we understand is a popular place for canoeing.

We checked these places out because they normally include a beautiful setting and we're always considering these places for future camping.

Unrelated to our current lifestyle, I received an interesting phone call the other day.  A classmate from elementary school that I haven't seen for 38 years contacted me.  He lives a few communities north of Pop and I will see him sometime next week.  The get together will be great fun!

We're moving to Fort Desoto County Park in St. Pete on Friday.  We'll be there about 10 days.


  1. We are going to the luncheon tomorrow and I thought I'd come by and check out your blog... I have added you to my favorites and joined you as a follower. We are right in Pinellas County so when you come to Fort Desoto (one of our favorites) we will visit with you... Maybe we could go to lunch or something! We love meeting new RV friends and look forward to becoming bloggin' buddies.
    Look forward to meeting you both at lunch tomorrow ☺
    Have fun & Travel Safe

  2. We camped at Alafia River SP several years ago and I remember those bike trails quite well! You're right..they are some tough trails! We only hiked!

  3. This state park looks like a great place. Charley checked to see if we could get in for a short stay but no luck. We will try later though. Wish we could have visited more at Smokey Bones yesterday but we will have to stay in touch via our blogs and email until our paths cross again (and maybe they will here in Florida). Safe travels to your next destination.