Scenes from Hillsborough River

This state park reminds me of the one we stayed in in New Ulm, Minnesota, because it’s designed with lots of amenities for locals: a pool (closed now), snack bar, playgrounds, pavilions and picnic sites, kayak rentals, hiking trails.

I’m guessing there are lots of large, community-friendly state parks out there with camping, and I just didn’t know about them. We shall see!

The downside for us is they’re packed with day-trippers on the weekends. Yesterday I ran into all possible Americans.

A big group in a parking lot dressed to the nines, getting ready for a Quinceañera.

A man and woman sitting under the suspension bridge, in the midst of psychotherapy.

A family with teenagers who were breaking every posted rule, smacking things with a branch and falling off the trail into the water.

A young couple with a stroller, the guy wearing a maga hat and complaining that the baby always was having to hold a toy.

A young woman on her phone, saying, “If you can’t say why you fell in love with someone, then something’s wrong.”

A woman my age walking with her mother; they gave me the cold shoulder at the trail entrance, but, in the middle of the woods, the elderly mother asked me quite lucidly, “Do you walk these trails often, and if so, where are we?”

I keep coming back to my realization that to see America, you also see Americans.

What a beautiful place this is though, right?

And the variety of people I sidestepped on the trail served as a soundtrack to the day, along with a boisterous red shouldered hawk, an alligator swimming blithely up the center of the river, and two large, healthy raccoons in our campsite last night, stealing away Banjo’s expensive treat bag.

It’s all strange and wonderful, taken together.

Okay, you guys keep staying safe.