Now I'm even more disappointed in having missed out on half the park - we were going to rent the canoe in the afternoon and float along, but the thunderstorm blew us out of the water (pretty much literally…).
Today it poured, too - so I've been packing my box to ship home while watching some documentary program on giant killer waves.
On the other hand, last night's buffet was lovely.
Anyway, here are the promised photos from the park:
The spring itself made for a lovely swimming hole, though I hear it's much more crowded on weekends. The water was perfect.
I really wish I had an underwater camera so I could show off photos of the snorkel-based scenery, but the sunfish were beautiful critters with vertical bars, red backs and dorsal fins, lavender anal fins, and white trim on their tails. They didn't look half as impressive from above the water.
I've always been a fan of live oaks covered in Spanish moss, and the parking area had those in abundance.
Meanwhile, the most impressive inflorescences were in the terrestrial part of the park. This Opuntia sp.
caught my eye.
The area near the canoe launch featured what may have been the largest Hydrocotyle
specimens I've ever seen - it looked like H. bonariensis
, but on steiroids. Some of these leaves were pushing 5" across. o_O For reference, the bird in the foreground had about a 4" beak and is maybe 1-2 yards in front of the Hydrocotyle
Other fauna were nice to see as well. I've always had a soft spot for anoles, and this park had some brown anoles (a naturalized species that coexists with native green anoles) with beautiful dorsal patterning.
This yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta
), meanwhile, had no fear of us, swimming within arms reach to get a better look.
I was less thrilled with the curiosity of several 5-6 foot gators, who turned out to be total creepers and followed us as we toured around the edge of their pond. Since this was a fishing area, I have to wonder if they weren't trying to steal bait off of lines or something (alas, we had to disappoint them, as we had no such bait or lines). In any case, being visibly stalked by interested gators is better than being surprised by one…