Monday, January 19, 2009
Shayne's Week Two: Park Ranger Shayne
So when we set out on this "Do Something Awesome" adventure, I decided to make a list of some major activities I've always wanted to do. At the very top of my list was a visit to DeLeon Springs about an hour outside of Orlando. The Spring is famous for an old sugar mill that is now a restaurant where you griddle your own pancakes. And during the right time of year you can also see manatees there! I remember going there as a child but it has been well over 10 years.
So needless to say I took advantage of a free Sunday and went down to DeLeon Springs with some friends. Before going I saw that there was a hiking trail so I figured we would do that as well. Eat, walk, look at manatees...perfect.
Of course nothing is as easy as you plan. We get to DeLeon Springs and there is a Civil War reenactment going on. We put our name in for pancakes and decided to walk around. Well apparently not much has changed since the Civil War because within 5 minutes we heard one of the most offensive gay comments to date. Needless to say we went back to the restaurant and waited for our table. We got our pancakes and had an amazing breakfast!
After we ate we set out to find manatees. I stopped and asked a park ranger who told us that there weren't any that day but the spring about 15 minutes away had 170. She also told us about a great hiking trail around a wildlife refuge (aka Swamp) down the road. So we left State Park #1 and drove to State Park Wildlife Refuge #2. We walked about four miles around with birds, turtles and alligators. Yes, alligators in the wild. I faced my fear and it was actually pretty cool.
Then on to state park #3 to see the manatees. There were tons! Not very exciting, but still cool to look at. On the way home we found a Big Boy restaurant. I only knew of the place from the Austin Powers movie but my friends flipped out when we saw the sign. We grabbed dinner and headed on home.
We ate our pancakes, went for our hike, saw manatees and contributed to corporate America. It was a complete day of awesomeness. And I even came within 15 feet of a gator in the wild! Who knew.