When I arrived at John D MacArthur Beach at 8:30 am, I spoke at length to the park ranger at the front gate and he strongly encouraged me to take the 10 am tour of the park that was given each day. While I waited I walked around the gift shop, toured the nature center and walked the boardwalk to the beach. Finally, 10 am rolled around and I was the only one there waiting for the tour. At first I was going to tell my guide not to worry about taking me but I wanted to be toured around so off we went. Gillian and I became fast friends and the tour was amazing. Turns out it is a volunteer position and I was her first official tour. She taught me about the park, told me all about John and informed me of the importance of the parks preservation it has on the waterways and on the environment as a whole. I am so thankful that he had the vision to save the ecosystem from the urban world that was already closing in around it. 

Gillian also told me about some really cool places to see unique aquatic animals and a pretty cool watering hole too. We walked through the mangroves and up to the beach and then our tour came to an end. I could have hung out there the whole day but I had to continue my journey down to a few more parks and then set up my next camp! 

I followed my GPS right into Ft. Lauderdale, into Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. This park was crazy to me because it was right in the middle of this hectic city but I could see how it could be a blessing to the residence. As I drove in the noise of the city disappeared. Some of the park and trails were flooded with water that had overflowed from the river due to the super moon and the unusual high tides. The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew did not help either. Nature was just going crazy! 

Due to the massive amount of traffic, I could only see one more park, Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, formally know as John U Lloyd Beach. This park was so beautiful with a nice beach and many access points. I had my lunch there despite of the gusty wind and then walked about looking for manatees in the little coves without any luck. The time continued to fly so I headed out and down to the Keys, relieved at the thought of tomorrow’s traffic being so much calmer and making my mood a lot lighter!