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[ft-l] Orlando Wetlands Park

I was out in Seminole Ranch and Orlando Wetlands park today doing Trail
Inventory.  I stashed my bike at the western end of OWP where it joins
Wheeler Rd, then hiked around the northern half of Seminole Ranch (from F&W
trailer) and across the top of OWP back to my bike.  I then rode the bike
back to my car along the dike on the southern side of OWP.  What a fantastic
ride!  If it hadn't been for the storm front coming in I could have spent
the rest of the afternoon riding around on the levees in there.  Not another
person out there.  I saw I don't know how many water birds - lots of herons
of all varieties - alligators and turtles.  My wildlife encounters during
that 1/2 hour ride:

A small raccoon "playing with" a large tortoise.  When I stopped about 15
feet away, the raccoon didn't pay any attention to me, just kept on tugging
at the tortoise.  I finally spoke to it so it looked at me (for a nice
photo).  After another minute or two I got off the bike to check out the
tortoise and the raccoon backed off into the brush - I could just see it's
eyes peering out at me.  On closer look, the tortoise was recently dead, the
raccoon was eating it's neck.  Don't know if the raccoon killed it or not.

A scarlet king snake crossed the dike in front of me.

Gator and fish drama.  Spottted a small (6 foot or so) gator near the shore,
in a clear area of water.  A fish rolled near the surface of the water not
far to the left of the gator.  The gator slowly, slowly turned to face the
ripples.  The fish rolled on the other side of the gator.  The gator slowly,
slowly turned to face the new ripples.  The fish rolled on the gator's
quarter.  The gator turned again.  The fish rolled again, in another spot.
This went on for about 20 minutes!  I had to leave before the end of the
drama, but it looked to me like the fish was teasing that poor old gator.

A small black bear went crashing into the brush as I turned another corner -
not more than 50 feet in front of me.  I'm amassing a great collection of
"Bear Butt" photos.

A fawn, still spotted, up on the dike that I saw as I came around a corner.
I stopped about 50 feet away.  It was curious, I think, about what I was,
being on the bike.  It approached to within about 20 feet before deciding it
had seen enough and bounced off into the trees.

So, get yourself out to Orlando Wetlands Park if you want a great
opportunity to see wildlife.  During the week is best, but there aren't too
many people out there on the weekends either.  And don't forget the camera.


----- Original Message -----
From: Jeff Walters <hiker_jjw@yahoo.com>
To: <ft-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2001 11:02 PM
Subject: Re: [ft-l] The Big 360: Green Swamp West (Part 1)

> Sandy (and List),
> This reminds me of a trip thru Rice Creek where Rich got a little
> dehydrated.  I have some opinions on the water issue that I'd like to
> with the list.  I'm no expert.  Personally, I believe there's some
> out there on consuming water.  Who ever came up with 8 glasses a day
> Of course you have to consume it, and lots of it!  But, I believe you need
> to "help your body retain" a good percentage of the water you drink.  Just
> passing the water through your system doesn't help hydrate you much.
> Passing water through your body does help cleans your system, but
> the water into your system is what's important.
> I like to use a light mix of Gatorade powder mixed in with my water to
> my body absorb more of the water that I drink.  The effects of the hot
> Florida sun can dehydrate your body so quickly that I believe anyone could
> use a little help absorbing the water.  If you plan on hiking in the heat,
> carry a couple of salt /electrolyte tablets.  Plan on using them as soon
> you start to feel dazed or confused.  A little salty beef jerky will also
> the trick, as well as some soup mixes, etc.
> Personally, I've been there.  The first big hike I ever did was a solo
> to South Ocala National Forest hike in June with a 45+ pound pack.  BIG
> MISTAKE!  When I got to Hopkins Prairie (N-S) it was late in the
> I had no idea what was in store for me.  I had to take several breaks and
> retreat into the pine woods to get out of the direct sun.  By the time I
> to the Hopkins Prairies campground, I was well on my way to heat
> Luckily I was able to spend the next day just resting and relaxing at the
> campground.
> I still can't believe I carried 45+ pounds of gear! LOL
> Jeff Walters
> (Prairie Dog)
> ----- Original Message -----
> > Things got fuzzy. I know we were in pine scrub, and my water was gone,
> we
> > hadn't crossed Cumpresso Grade yet. Rich had a lot of water left, so I
> kept
> > drinking, but I felt oddly dizzy and detatched. And hot. Very hot.
> Finally,
> > we crossed the landmark road. Hit the sand hills. Up and down. Another
> bridge
> > with a funny sign. I felt weak. We stopped and rested a bit. It felt
> > getting drier. I noticed the clumps of yellow flowers, and the shades of
> > spring green in the cypresses. But I was just too hot, too dry. My lips
> > started cracking. I felt lightheaded. So very glad to see my car loom
> > view on River Rd.
> >
> > Decided between my temperature and my feet that pressing on to the
> campsite
> > wouldn't be prudent. So we went home. We left my car in Ridge Manor
> because I
> > was in no shape to drive any distance. It took a whole lot of vehicular
> air
> > conditioning and a soak in the cool pool to bring my temperature back
> > again. Once I was lucid, I realized I'd probably been pushing heat
> exhaustion
> > again...damn these 86-degree days in full sun! I vowed to carry more
> > next time.
> >
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