The Swamp Comes Alive in Spring

The weather was pleasantly cool and breezy; a good day for day-hiking. Since many trails in northeastern Florida remain flooded, I opted to walk the elevated trails at Sweetwater Wetlands. Water levels being high, the park’s dry basins had filled. Alligators of all sizes took advantage of the expanded habitat. One young gator amused visitorsContinue reading “The Swamp Comes Alive in Spring”

Eagans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach

Pre-Covid, I’d visited Eagans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach, Florida; but the weather was hot, I found the trail signs difficult to interpret, and swarms of mosquitos turned me back at the halfway point. Today, the temperature was moderate, the sun was shining, and many trails in Central Florida were flooded, so I decided toContinue reading “Eagans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach”

Urban Hike to St. Augustine from Vilano Beach

Most of North Florida is only 19-250 feet (6-76 meters) above sea level so, when it rains for successive days, many trails are closed or are so mucky that they’re nearly impassible. At these times, I resort to an urban hike. This week, I walked from Vilano Beach Town Center (115 Vilano Rd A, St.Continue reading “Urban Hike to St. Augustine from Vilano Beach”

Sawmill Slough Preserve at University of North Florida (UNF)

I had been dissuaded from visiting Sawmill Slough Preserve. The University of North Florida web site warns that people should hike in pairs, and a sign at the trailhead reiterates this. However, I started on the trail at 9:15 on a Sunday morning, and there were already many cars in the lot. A short distanceContinue reading “Sawmill Slough Preserve at University of North Florida (UNF)”

Theodore Roosevelt Area trails at Fort Caroline

There are three trailheads crossing the Theodore Roosevelt Area adjoining Fort Caroline: Paved lot at Fort Caroline National Memorial (12713 Fort Caroline Road, Jacksonville FL). Restrooms. Picnic area. Paved lot opposite the entrance to Fort Caroline. No facilities. Unpaved lot at Willie Browne Trailhead (13303 Mount Pleasant Road). Restrooms. Today I walked from the WillieContinue reading “Theodore Roosevelt Area trails at Fort Caroline”

Learn to Hike at Jacksonville Arboretum

Jacksonville Arboretum is a city park that is managed by a non-profit organization and maintained by volunteers. Its stated goals are to: Sustain biological diversity Maintain a natural area that can be used for research Educate the public about nature and natural resources Provide a peaceful place where people can self-reflect and enjoy nature [ResourceContinue reading “Learn to Hike at Jacksonville Arboretum”

Lost in Seaton Creek Historic Preserve

Yesterday I visited a new-to-me park, Seaton Creek Historic Preserve in northern Jacksonville (Florida). There was ample parking at the trailhead, although the parking lot looked as though it may sometimes be muddy and impassable. I had downloaded a trail map, and planned to do a figure 8: Take the 2.3 mile Houston Creek TrailContinue reading “Lost in Seaton Creek Historic Preserve”

Winter Birds at Sweetwater Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)

From a distance, there appeared to be a lot of dead vegetation in the marsh. It looked like scattered chunks of palm bark. Then, in the water, I noticed a duck with a bright orange bill. I lifted my binoculars for a better look, and then realized that the woody shreds were moving. This wasn’tContinue reading “Winter Birds at Sweetwater Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)”

Capo Tower at Guana River

Yesterday, I returned to Capo Tower at Guana River Wildlife Management Area (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida), which can be accessed by way of the Savannah Loop trail. During my last visit in the fall of 2021, the path to the tower was blocked and under construction. The partial boardwalk was being extended all of theContinue reading “Capo Tower at Guana River”

Walkingstick Rescue

I’ve been partial toward stick insects since my husband and I hiked a Florida park, where sporadic high-pitched whines crossed the trail in waves. Sometimes the sound was nearly imperceptible, then slowly grew in volume. At its peak, the sound matched the whir of green aliens in outer space movies. Late that afternoon, we noticedContinue reading “Walkingstick Rescue”