Nature Walks – Loxahatchee Redux
I stirred these sleepy bones out of bed and house this morning in order to take a morning walk at this nearby refuge. After all, it may be shut next week if there is a Federal government shut-down due to budgetary issues.
This time, I explored the “new” area that has been recently been opened up to hikers and bikers. Much more restoration work has been done… at least in 2000-04 to restore the cypress swamp. The trees are still quite young, but look healthy, and there are other volunteers, as well, including Sweet Gum and Red Maple and others to add to the flora.
This area is much larger in scope than the southern portion of the refuge that is available for public access without a boat. The preserve extends far to the north and west, but a boat or air boat are necessary to travel through the wetlands. Even further to the west is the agricultural area that was created in the 1940’s or so, draining the Everglades and permanently affecting the ancient drainage of Lake Okeechobee. I haven’t yet explored that area.
I saw an assortment of birds too far away to take photographs, plus a raccoon, two White-tailed Deer and a young alligator. I heard several nesting birds, but they were well camouflaged by the thick grasses and water lilies. There were a lot of biting flies present, an unwelcome addition, but as the weather gets warmer, so do the bugs. I managed to beat them off without too much effort. I always carry a bandanna as a bug swatter.
The trails were gravel and grass roads. This is still an area very much impacted by the works of man. Except for a couple of smiling workers who passed by in their truck, I was alone in my travels. It was a welcome break from the hectic traffic and impact of humanity around here.
I look for places like this. They exist in most areas, even those severely impacted by man, where plants and animals thrive. Where some humans work from a vision that sees a planet healed and whole.
Here’s some more photos, mostly landscapes… In Joy!
Many blessings to all,
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com
Photos taken in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida