Spider wraps itself in a leaf

I was watering my hydrangea when I noticed that one of the leaves was tubular. I immediately suspected a caterpillar and instinctively pinched the leaf from its stem. “Shoot. Why did you do that?” I’d recently done the same while checking another plant, only to realize the tube held the larva of a Long-tailed Skipper,Continue reading “Spider wraps itself in a leaf”

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”

Sixty Days of Exercise

I just completed 60 days of daily exercise. So what has changed since day 30? Energy level continues to increase. I’m active later into the evening and must force myself to stop. Blood pressure has changed. Was an average of 116/68; now 107/64. Resting heart rate has increased. Averaged 68 bpm before the 60-day period;Continue reading “Sixty Days of Exercise”

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”

Native Pine Trees in Florida

There are seven pine species native to Florida: Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)Pond Pine (Pinus serotina)Sand pine (Pinus clausa)Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)Spruce pine (Pinus glabra)Shortleaf or Yellow Pine (Pinus echinata) Below are photos of four of the seven, taken during early spring at Jacksonville Arboretum. All trees were mature and of similar girth.

30-day Exercise Challenge

After my one-week retreat, I set a long-term, personal goal; but to accomplish it I’d have to become physically stronger. I watched a few YouTube videos about building muscle and then researched gyms in my area. There was one a short distance from my home, the membership was [somewhat] reasonably priced, and it was wellContinue reading “30-day Exercise Challenge”