An Ethereal Swamp in Riverbend
After visiting the newly created (and still-in-development) Cypress Creek Natural Area (see corresponding post), we darted through one of my favorite areas of Riverbend Park in Jupiter, Florida — not exactly a difficult hike in this particular location, but we weren’t exactly looking for one, after spending 4 hours plodding through the (occasionally) deep sand of Cypress Creek.
Awhile back, we discovered a cut-through (perhaps the beginnings of a new trail) leading to Riverbend’s cypress swamp — a truly beautiful area of the park. The shortcut is lovely, and is obviously used by many critters judging by the tracks. We even managed to stumble upon a flock of wild turkeys and several hunting osprey, as it was approaching dusk. But Florida’s cypress swamps are a sight like no other, and it’s wonderful that this area of the Loxahatchee River — Seminole for “River of Turtles” — has been protected in all of its glory. (The Loxahatchee’s source is actually in Riverbend, winding through Jonathan Dickinson.)
Per the park’s signage:
“Riverbend Park’s aquatic habitats are invaluable. They provide food, water and shelter for a vast array of unique species of aquatic and semi-aquatic wildlife. Protection of these riparian or river ecosystems within Riverbend Park not only gives visitors the opportunity to study local wildlife, but provides critical habitat for the wildlife, thus ensuring their survival.”