Highlands Hammock State Park

I took yearly visits to Highlands Hammock State Park as a child. The memories I have of this park are largely of no real consequence: running around, climbing on monkey bars, eating packed lunches next to stuffed critters, participating in high-stakes water balloon fights, and petting the shell of a giant, fossilized tortoise. Chief among the memories, however, is walking along the park’s famous boardwalk, which meanders through cypress trees and over swamps. The boardwalk begins large in width, having handrails on both sides to  protect children from falling into the swamp. Eventually, over an alligator-infested bog, the boardwalk thins to a few planks in width and loses a handrail. On those summer days when the water level is high, and the multitude of beady, black eyes from the water’s surface scrutinize your every move, this section of the boardwalk can be frightening to a child. Needless to say, I was delighted to take my 4-year-old brother to the park.

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