During Spring Break, I woke up early as usual and had the urge to go somewhere, to explore a new place. This happens often, but usually on days when I need to drive to work instead of to a new park. I was determined to take advantage of my free morning.
I grabbed my camera, watch, a few layers of clothes, and I started driving. Not too far along the way, I turned into Alligator Lake Park. Despite being located so close to where I live in comparison to the state parks in the area, I had never truly explored the quaint community oasis.
As I made my way up the long drive through the front portion of the park, I realized that I was the first one there that morning, as I arrived minutes after the opening time of 8:00 AM. I parked in the main parking lot near the large pavilion. There didn't seem to be a trailhead, so I walked across the grassy area and further down the road. I quickly found the trails once over to the other part of the park, away from the playgrounds and picnic tables. I chose the first path, which took me straight out to the lake, instead of around it. I didn't know it at the time, but that path was an out and back, about a mile long.
With the temperature in the thirties and the wind barreling across the water, I regretted not bringing a hat, but I kept walking. It was so beautiful, to be in the center of the lake, watching the birds sunning themselves and others trying to swim against the strong wind. I refused to turn around until I had experienced the entire trail. Trees had fallen because of the recent storm, but the sky was a brilliant Florida blue. After days of heavy rain and winds, the sun was shining, illuminating the firsts of the Spring greens on the trees and at the bases of the grasses.