Florida National Scenic Trail (Southern Terminus; Loop Road access point)
25°45’32.27″N 81°02’52.61″W elev 4 ft
The trail was 60% mud, 20% water, and 20% dry grass. I was not prepared for how exhausting walking in the mud, or “slogging,” is.
About a mile into the trail is a pine hammock that was just full of wintering songbirds, inlcuding the Eastern Bluebird. It was really incredible how fearless they were; they darted about us, close enough to touch, as if we weren’t even there. They were so tiny and so fast that I wasn’t able to get a good picture.
The trail runs through a forest of “old growth” Cypresses. I think these are Dwarf Cypresses. Despite how small they look, they are hundreds of years old! They look kinda spooky in the winter without their needles.
There were air plants everywhere!
Tillandsia utriculata, the “Giant Air Plant”!
This itty bitty guy was about the size of a quarter.
Isn’t he a cutie! Southeastern Lubber Grasshopper: 2 1/2″; flightless; slow-moving. Emits foul-smelling secretion when distrubed (National Audubon Society, “Field Guide to Florida”).
A crayfish. Isn’t he funny looking?! He was about 5″ long. He remained in this position for several minutes, then submerged himself in the mud.
Old Field Toadflax
Ollie’s picked up a scent! The air along the trail was delicious!