The first trail...err path...we walked was the Prairie Trail that was a short (.3 mile) out and back trail made of crushed stone. We had a gorgeous day for a walk with a nice cool breeze, which for many parts of the park were great since there was little shade in areas, including the Prairie Trail.
The trail had an entry way of trees that opened to a path surrounded by tall red-brown grass. It led out to a boardwalk over wet land area. The prairie was outlined by trees. It was very pretty and we were the only two out there. I think the fact that it is such a short trail and a simple out and back that it doesn't get much draw, which is unfortunate.
The second trail we walked at the park was a short wooded loop and was my favorite. It was a dirt trail where bikes are not allowed.
We were the only two on this trail as well and it was so quiet and nice. You could hear the birds and the wind blowing through the trees. And there was no sign of alligators, yes, alligators. We will get there in a minute.
The 40-Acre Trail, and Elm Lake Trail were two loops connected by the Spillway Trail. They were less shaded, but beautiful. The terrain was mostly crushed rock and we had lots of company on these trails. Many people walking, biking and pushing strollers.
I was honestly a little stressed about the alligators that the hiking book promised. I was not interested in a hike turning into a run from an alligator.
We started off small, and they were actually kind of cute...and really didn't notice we were there, not that I walked right up to him and introduced myself of anything.
I would say we saw 10 different alligators and some of them were quite large. We did pass one group of people that were very intrigued by a very large one close to the edge of the trail. They were taking lots of pictures of him and getting a little too close for me. So close that the alligator picked up his head to look at them. As I read in the hiking book and in the park warnings...this is not a good thing! I am guessing these folks hadn't read up on this. We didn't slow down to take pictures of this or stick around to see what happened. I can tell you that the alligator they were entertaining was bigger than the one below.
We also saw lots of beautiful birds. They were fun to watch.
In all we hiked over 5 miles and it took us a little better than 2 hours. Not a bad morning!