Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wakulla Springs in October


Ochlockonee River Floodplain Swamp

These images of tupelo and cypress trees were taken earlier this week in a vast floodplain swamp of the Ochlockonee River west of Crawfordville. I parked on the shoulder of Forest Road 13, adjacent to the entrance of the Apalachicola National Forest campground at Porter Lake and walked for about 3 hours in a loop to the north. There are no roads or trails through this unspoiled, wild and very beautiful place.   Boots and a GPS are necessary gear. Several months ago the water was over 5 feet deep throughout the entire swamp. Now water is only flowing in a second, smaller and shallower channel of the river that meanders through the swamp to Porker Lake. This 'lake' rejoins the river south of the campground.
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Mashes Sands in October

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Birds and Butterflies at Fiddlers Point

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Zebra longwing on Spanish needle

Gulf fritillary ... this butterfly also has spots on its eyes!

"Drawing" of osprey

"Drawing" of wood storks

Wood stork

Snowy egret

Snowy egrets

Snowy egrets

Sunday, October 13, 2013


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Watching me watching him ... through
the window on the south side of our

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blue Ridge High

Last month, Trudy and I embarked on a 2-week road trip through a portion of the Blue Ridge mountains. We drove our trusty Subaru Forester north along the Blue Ridge Parkway from milepost 199 at Fancy Gap, NC to milepost 0 at Rockfish Gap, VA, then continued north along the entire 105 miles of the Skyline Drive to its northern terminus at Front Royal, VA.

"The Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for their bluish color
when seen from a distance. Trees put the "blue" in
Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere,
thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the
mountains and their distinctive color." (Wikipedia)
This landscape also releases copious
quantities of feel-good vibes. In late
September the color was f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c,
with a million shades of green.
Fortunately, we experienced several mornings shrouded in fog.
This hardwood forest was on a portion of the Appalachian Trail
a short distance from our campsite in the Loft Mountain
campground, Shenandoah National Park.


Most days were cool with clear skies.
This statuary was in the North Carolina
Arboretum, Asheville.
The many diverse rock formations, like
these along the Fort Windham Rocks Trail,
(Skyline Drive milepost 10) are another 
intriguing aspect of the Blue Ridge.
By far the most interesting geological feature was this jumble
of rocks called a talus or scree on the Blackrock Summit Trail,
(Skyline Drive milepost 51.2). Erosion and weathering caused
these large slabs off rocks to break of a solid rock face and
tumble down the mountain.
The gurgle of mountain streams as well as
the roar of waterfalls are like the Sirens
song, so irresistible there is no escape.
Slickrock Falls, near Brevard, North Carolina
Looking Glass Falls, also near Brevard.
This was our campsite on September 17 in the Loft Mountain
Campground (Skyline Drive milepost 80, Shenandoah National
Park.) We were fortunate in the timing of our vacation, before
the government shutdown. Now all of the Shenandoah National
Park including the Skyline Drive is closed. Even in September,
some facilities were closed because of the sequester.
Lodge at Big Meadows (Skyline Drive milepost 51,
Shenandoah National Park)
Interior view of lodge
The cabin at Big Meadows where we spent one night.