On our alternate days, Dakota and I explored the local dog-friendly state parks. One we returned to was the Savannas Preserve State Park.
This park was quite enormous and featured an expansive number of trails. This is the dry season in Florida and the trails themselves were quite dusty and dry, but most of the park was a mix of marshland and, not surprisingly, savannas. We hiked these trails twice.
It was quite hot and sunny as we hiked along. We hiked deep into the park. Once we were away from the picnic area, we saw no one. It felt very remote.
State parks require that dogs stay on leash on the trails. I always adhere to this rule both to abide by the rules, but even more to avoid having to rescue Dakota from some wild life experience. As much as I love my furry friend, I also know he has little common sense. In a landscape filled with potentially dangerous snakes, spiders and bobcats, I would prefer to keep him close at hand and under control. These concerns were amplified when I realized that at least part of our trails featured water and marsh just on the other side of the brush. We hiked along as I kept a careful eye out for alligators as well as snakes.
Happily, no alligators tried to eat us and no snakes slithered across our path, but we did see two very large Gopher Tortoises. Dakota thought they were each just a big rock until it moved and then, once again, the dog lost his mind. It is hard to tell how big these guys were from these photos, but they were easily 15-18″.