Nature Walks – Moses, Washington and a Princess
Again I hit three separate areas for hikes / walks, visiting for the first time the Moses Creek Conservation Area, located north of SR 206, just before the bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway. This area is big, 2,000 acres and covers a variety of habitats. I ended up following a meandering bicycle trail until finally coming out at some bluff-top views of Moses Creek, the vast salt marsh, with the bridge and distant houses lined up on the edge of the waterway. The way back was via the more conventional route, a jeep trail marked with white diamonds. There is about 12 miles of combination hiking, biking and equestrian trails. The existence of the bicycle trails wasn’t mentioned in my hiking guide, “50 Hikes in North Florida”, but the International Biking Association… should have some information. Canoeing / kayaking and fishing is possible on Moses Creek. There is one dock located at a campsite near a high sandy bluff above the creek.
I had started my day out at an old favorite, Princess Place Preserve, but only did one short hike and drove through on the loop trail and through the Moody Campground area. All the roads are functional now, cleared after the hurricane, but there is still some clean-up work here and there. On the Creek View Trail, you need to know where the trail is in order to follow it until you almost reach the creek side. There is still quite a bit of storm debris covering the area, but the trail meanders through it and over a couple of smaller logs past some creekside cabins. There were the usual fishermen, quite a few campers at Moody Point and even some folks setting up for a Plein Art session on the edge of Stiles Creek… a creek that I have featured in a couple of my paintings taken from photos.
While much of the nation was experiencing snowy or cold weather, Florida was enjoying temperatures in the low 70’s. On my travels I ran into a few snowbirds who were enjoying the opportunity to thaw out. At Princess Place, the local hickory groves contributed to what show of “autumn” color Florida tends to have during its cooler months. I can hardly say “cold” can I!
My last stop of the day was at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, another favorite. I’m getting good use of my annual State Parks Pass. The gardens were beautiful as usual, coming back with fresh plantings and clean-up after the primary hurricane clean-up has been long accomplished. The coquina beach section of the park is still off limits. The dunes, beach ramps and parking lot were wiped out during the hurricane due to a massive storm surge that went clear across A1A but fortunately didn’t take out the highway also.
I probably hiked about 5 to 6 miles all told after these three lovely hikes. Continuing on with my exercise regime… in a form that I prefer. And I’m grateful for the farsightedness exercised by local citizens in preserving these lovely parks and wild areas for future generations. The barrier islands and inland regions are getting swiftly divided up and built up. These preserves will protect the waterways, tidal regions and provide safe areas for wildlife. Speaking of wildlife sightings, I nearly forgot… I saw a coyote on the edge of Old Kings Highway and then sighted two dolphins swimming along the Matanzas River off the embankment at Washington Oaks Gardens. I had noticed a breathing noise and then spotted the dark fin of one dolphin, which was soon joined by another. What a joy to see our watery friends!
On the national front, tomorrow, 1/6/2016, the Electoral College will finally announce the results of the Presidential election. Seems such a long-drawn out process and not a very democratic one. I doubt if either side of the political spectrum will breath a sigh of relief; more protests and resistance are on the horizon. And as an old Seattle favorite, Ivar Haglund (owner of a seafood restaurant) used to say, “Keep Clam!” Be that calm eye of the storm while chaos reigns around you.
Blessings to all,
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com