Friday, April 4, 2014

Playing on the Florida Trail at River Bend Park

As an outdoor enthusiast and member of the Florida Trail Association, I do a lot of hiking on the Florida Trail. It is a designated National Scenic Trail, spanning over 1,000 miles all over the state of Florida. It is an unfinished work, with many unconnected segments, so it is essentially a section hiker's dream. There are so many wildly different ecosystems in Florida, and the trail does a great job of showcasing them.

I'm a sucker for old cars, and this one -- laid out to rest under the shade of an even older oak tree -- caught my eye.

This particular hike took me through some pine and palmetto scrub, as well as a floodplain forest. I did this hike with my mother and my dog on a gorgeous mid-March morning in 2012. 

That's my dog, Duchess. Look at that balance! She zoomed across that narrow log like it was nothing.

I couldn't believe the coloring on this insect. It's camouflaged coloring was impressive, but do you see the flash of blue and orange on the inside of its leg? Incredible! Nature is full of happy surprises.

The trail also took us through a few rural backyards; we were greeted by a couple of friendly horses at one point:

We were a few hours into the hike when we came across this water crossing. As common as water crossings are in the southern parts of the Florida Trail, we just didn't feel like getting wet that day, so we decided to turn back. All in all, it was a fantastic hike; great weather, good company, and a couple of interesting ecosystems.

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