About a month ago for one of our weekly field trip, the Florida Center for Creative Photography sponsored a photo walk to the Lettuce Lake Regional Park, north of Tampa. I’d been to the park a few years back sans camera, however, this visit found me well-equipped, with lenses in hand and accompanied by three expert members of the club. We got some great shots, so I decided to head back to the park with my daughter and see it from the river in one of the park’s rental kayaks. Most of these shots are from the first visit, since I didn’t take my Olympus OMD out on the water and instead used my Windows 920 cell phone camera.
The Hillsborough River creates Lettuce Lake, via an overflow of river water. The river creates the swamp, named for the ubiquitous water lettuce plants.
In addition to lovely lake vistas, birds abound here. Just a few minutes into my walk with the club, we came upon these two Limpkins. They seemed to be literally posing for us for a good twenty minutes, until they finally caught some food and scuttled away.
The park has quite the collection of massive old cypress. pine and hardwood trees. These trees seemed to have avoided the clearcutting that took out most of the woodlands during the 1920s and 30s. Perhaps because the area remains under water much of the year.
Swamp lilies, a native Florida plant, grow throughout, with waves of flowers bordering the river.
Thirty-five hundred feet of boardwalks, a multistory viewing tower, and a 1.25-mile paved trail allow easy access to wildlife, views of the lake and picnics.
Kayaks and canoes can be rented here. We rented kayaks for four hours at the bargain price of $25. Rentals include all safety equipment and paddles.
The park is home to the Audubon Resource Center where folks can find more information about the park. The website provides information on kayak and canoe rentals here and in other Hillsborough County parks.