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[ft-l] Hiking addendum - Citrus tract
As usual, I failed to mention some significant things from our last hike:
First, we spotted many long leaf pines with telltale catfaces from their use
by turpentine operators many decades ago. The trees would be scarred in a
"V" pattern and a clay pot suspended below the wound into which the pine sap
would flow. The scars remain with the tree for the rest of its life and bear
a resemblance to a cat face. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to see
this yet, keep your eyes alert when in old growth long leaf or slash pine
forests. It's a fairly common occurrence. We also saw some potsherds of
those original pots.
Another thing interesting to see is evidence of the bucks scraping the bark
off trees with their antlers. You'll be amazed at how deeply they scrape the
bark away. Bears also scrape trees with their claws, though we find evidence
of this less frequently.
On Saturday, we came upon an amazing three-trunked live oak that had split
three ways many years ago. All three trunks lay prostrate, but two trunks
continue to live and many of the lateral branches have reoriented skyward,
each generating its own crown in the tree canopy above. I was able to walk
right between the roots that had split asunder.
For those of you who've been to Split Oak Preserve to the southeast of
Orlando, this was an even more impressive example of the phenomenon. And
since it wasn't chained off, and remote from the need to be, this Citrus
Tract split oak was more enjoyable. And it was even bigger. Thankfully,
only a few will make the effort to get to it, but they will be amply rewarded.