We picked up several Lake County Water Authority park brochures at Bourlay park the other day. Hickory Point Park was the most surprising. We have driven past this park so many times, but it never occurred to us to turn in and explore it. The brochure hinted at what we’ve been missing.
We cruised by the boat ramps and parked in front of the biggest picnic pavilion I have ever seen. It is two floors high with screens and balconies all around.
The pavilion is available by reservation for picnics, weddings, and any other sort of event. There was a large party underway to the left of the front door. We went straight through and out the back door.
When we exited, the scene was beautiful. There was a small pavilion to the left and the right.
I turned to look at the pavilion from the lakeside. Lovely.
Andy continued out to the fishing pier.
I followed as Little Lake Harris was coming into view.
Here is an aerial view of the pavilion from the brochure.
I was surprised by the number of boat slips. You can see the Howey Bridge in the back right, where we have driven by so many times.
I turned back again to admire the Bald Cypress trees and Spanish Moss along the shoreline.
The side piers have large decks on the end. The gap in the trees in the background is the gateway from Lake Harris to Little Lake Harris. Venetian Gardens and downtown Leesburg are on the far side of the large Lake Harris.
We enjoyed the sun, breeze, and views for a while and then walked back to shore and followed the shoreline to the nature trail. The loop trail is a mile long and the first third of it is a boardwalk through a swamp.
It’s a jungle in there.
Andy spotted this turtle resting on a branch next to the boardwalk.
I saw a fine lizard on a tree trunk on the other side of the boardwalk.
The boardwalk made a lot of twists and turns.
There are also a number of wide spots with benches to stop and rest or just admire this wild place.
There are many Bald Cypress trees and several ones are quite large. The photos just don’t show it.
I love baby leaves and saw many of them along the trail.
A large area of the swamp was covered with these tiny plants. I don’t know what they are.
I saw plenty of ferns and one area was covered with them.
Two Ibis flew across our path and landed in the swamp. There must be something they like in the mud because they were digging down with most of their beaks buried.
We crossed a small road and saw a citrus grove to our left. A sign said, “Stay on the Trail”, so we did not explore the grove.
The elevation changed and we were in an upland forest. It smelled like fall with the leaves covering the trail.
The trail followed along the swamp.
We passed a storage yard with a long boat shed. There were all kinds of small boats stored there and also a good number of police vehicles.
Eventually, we came out of the woods and a large group of eighteen volleyball courts. Only one was occupied by four people who seemed to be practicing. Andy admired the uniforms.
I took more pictures of baby leaves as he watched volleyball practice.
The loop took us right back to the picnic pavilion and our car.