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[ft-l] A pleasant Sunday hike
Sandy and I were out again on Sunday. We headed for Split Oak Preserve in
southeast Orlando. We hiked the outer perimeter of the north and south loops
and then hiked the center trail that links the two loops, a total of about 8
miles. The weather was nice with sunshine and fresh air aplenty.
Images from the hike:
Life abounding after the land soaks up the needed rains, grasshoppers, toads
and butterflies adorning the trail: hopping, jumping, flitting about in
joyous exultation of Nature's fecundity.
Two sandhill cranes with six foot wingspans soaring in formation overhead.
A small black racer slithering through a puddle in the trail, our third snake
sighting in as many hiking days.
A medium sized alligator, posing in a trailside swamp, but exploding away
before Sandy could get a good pic. The splash sounding suspiciously like one
Sandy heard nearby while wading in knee-deep water at the Wild Persimmon
Trail on Friday.
More wading in the southern loop. For about two miles we descend into swampy
conditions. Only one choice if we want to keep hiking! I find that, with
the right shoes and socks, it is enjoyable to experience the squish of mud
beneath my bootsoles and the cool squish of water inside the boots. It's a
zen-like experience, much like hiking the rock-strewn AT in eastern
Pennsylvania. Learning acceptance when out in Nature is one of the lessons
we hikers must learn. Our real world existence allows us to control our
comfort and environment to an amazing degree. Nature requires us to adjust
to it, a blessing that sets us free when we learn it. So I say, bring on the
water, rain, mosquitoes! You'll never hear me whine about anything Nature
Two double trunked longleaf pines, a rare and wonderful sight.
Two boardwalks, one fronting a lake, the other a prairie, with comfy benches
for wildlife viewing, or just contemplation, or to take a load off weary feet.
Finally, Split Oak itself, a two hundred year old live oak which split and
fell about fifty years ago. Nature, with her infinite ingenuity and
patience, converting minor lateral branches into about a dozen new trunks.
Each taking the shape of a separate tree, but still being fed by one of the
two split root systems of the original tree. In the old days you could hike
between the two halves, but the county has wisely cordoned off the tree to
keep it healthy for future generations to admire.
Anybody else hiking out there?
Solar Bear and Navigator