Journal Entry 10.23.2016 – Sunday Drive
Did some more exploring today, checking off Faver-Dykes State Park from the “to visit” list. It’s a quiet park, situated on Pellicer Creek, in St. John’s County, near St. Augustine. There are some short trails, but the main draw is the creek for canoeists and kayakers and the campground. The campers were out; almost every campsite was full. The park got a little beat up from the recent hurricane, but everything was already pretty much cleaned up. I still prefer the more spacious and nearby Princess Place Preserve for its great walking trails and expansive vistas.
Next stop was the Sea to River Preserve, another Flagler County Park. However, the town of Marineland, which this little park is next to took a real beating during the storm. There was a storm surge, local flooding and lots of damage to houses, buildings and this particular park. The trail was flooded so it proved to be a no-go for further exploration.
Next on the agenda was Washington Oaks Garden State Park. This park took a hit, also, from the storm, but the main formal gardens are fully intact. The park was already in the process of renovating its pond system and these are not finished. New plantings are already in the ground and general manicuring has been done on the long nature trail. The forest was full of buzzy mosquitos today which were a bit annoying so I was actively flicking my bandana to keep them off of any exposed flesh. One noticeable effect from the hurricane was that many trees were almost completely stripped of their leaves.
Last recreation stop on this broad loop of Flagler County was the Mala Compra (“bad buy” en Espanol) county beach access. The beach is open; the parking is not. You can park along the road. This was another coastal area that took a big, damaging storm surge. All the vegetation looks beat up and askew. The walk-over was destroyed like most of the other ones along the coastal beaches. The beach was pretty free of debris and in good shape, although it looked like much of the sand had migrated inland into the coastal scrub. County and private crews were active even on this Sunday cleaning up debris alongside roads and the highway.
State Route A1A is open through the north end of the town of Flagler Beach. I didn’t go further south today, not wanting to get caught up in Sunday traffic through the detour around the damaged section of A1A.
The weather today was unusually cool for Florida… at least recently, but magnificently brilliant, with fresh strong breezes and deep blue skies.
I saw an assortment of creatures today including a groper tortoise (endangered species), three deer, a raccoon, several Osprey (sea eagles) and various other birds. There were no alligators or snakes to be seen, a fact for which I was truly grateful as water moccasins and alligators call Florida home, too.
While I woke this morning feeling like I was dragging, being outside and in nature was bracing. I took a good long walk through Washington Oaks and generally enjoyed the outing. It does appear that the area will take a while to recover from the storm, especially the coastal communities where many houses and businesses were flooded and damaged by the strong winds. Still, folks are resilient here and in generally good spirits. Even damaged Flagler Beach business was going strong in the north end, with most of the restaurants and stores open for business.
October is already 2/3s over! And what a month it has been. I hope everyone else is managing to cope with the strong energies and adapt to the flow of a new life, day by day.
All Rights Reserved, 2012-16, Eliza Ayres, www.bluedragonjournal.com
Photo Credits: Taken at Faver-Dykes and Washington Oaks Gardens State Parks, Sea to River Preserve and Mala Compra Beach Access, Flagler County.