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A Slightly Soggy Swamp Hike

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. —John Burroughs

This was definitely one of those days — we needed to have our “senses put in order.” During the continued exploration of West Palm Beach’s Grassy Waters Preserve, we finally managed the entirety of the beautiful Apoxee Trail — “beyond tomorrow” in the Miccosukee language (pronounced A-po-hee). We also hiked part of the outer Owahee Trail, looping around to the Apoxee — where we spied the most amazing untouched cypress swamps and waterways. We previously weren’t (mentally) prepared for a flooded-trail hike, but on this day, we knew what to expect, so trusted our boots to do their stuff. Sadly, my sturdy pair lasted until the last half-mile…. Which, out of an entirety of 6 miles, was fairly frustrating. That’s when a startled OH! sounded from ahead on the trail, which one NEVER wants to hear while navigating waters that are the same height as the neighboring swamp / wetlands. Poisonous snakes swim down here. As do alligators. Ker-plunk goes my leg into the deepest section yet. No worries — there was so much beauty to be had, what’s a pair of soppy socks?

Not sure what the weather holds this weekend, but we’re sure to hit another of my favorite natural areas — one with a lovely, ancient history of habitation, magnificent old growth trees, and one where we spied fresh panther and bobcat prints — so needless to say, I’m excited. May your weekends hold equal anticipation and beauty!

Untouched cypress swamp, where we just missed an otter…

Everglades vista

Flooded Apoxee Trail: Take One

Pileated woodpecker

Apoxee Trail boardwalk — once or twice the swamp was covered!

Everglades vista

Flooded Apoxee Trail: Take Two… For some reason, the male didn’t appreciate the paparazzi at his back

Air plant along the trail: Common to our area, this one was enormous

Flooded Apoxee Trail: Take Three, the doozy

Waterway on the Owahee Trail

30 Comments Post a comment
  1. If your mission was to get people to visit Grassy Waters Preserve, I think it was accomplished. Once at Wakodahatchee I spoke with a photographer who told me of the preserve but now your pictures have made me really want to visit….even though you did capture a spider web on one of those trees!! It certainly is hard to be a nature person when you are an arachniphobe 🙂

    The woodpecker picture is very nice!

    July 27, 2012
    • Oh I sure hope so!! It’s an amazing place — truly a shock to my system when we leave, and return to the concrete jungle. It’s one of the few remaining examples of an Everglades ecosystem in the area… While this trail is usually flooded (at least now), there are so many others to explore — check out my post “A lush and rocky little trail.” Hog Hammock is also lovely — a great-horned owl took off right in front of us, there! Argh, too fast for camera! 🙂 But I was happy to nab the woodpecker — he was darting from tree-to-tree, and rested for a few secs. He was far away, but they’re SO large, the shot came out decently.

      July 27, 2012
  2. Pam #

    Gorgeous! And you are adventurous – I haven’t actually put on my boots and waded through the swamps! Woodpecker is beautiful!

    July 27, 2012
    • Thanks so much! This area is just magnificent… One of the last remnants of an Everglades ecosystem in the area, and a definite must-see for everyone. There are ALL types of trails, too, which is great about this place. They’ve done a wonderful job!

      Ah, this is NUTHIN’ — we hiked Ocala once, when it was flooded (ignoring the sign, “what’s a few puddles?”)… Several miles out, we realized those “puddles” were waist-deep. Errrrgh. That’s when it gets fairly scary down here. Love those pileated woodpeckers — he was so far away, but since they’re huge, he still came out in the photo! 🙂

      July 27, 2012
  3. …makes me want to “go to nature and be soothed….” My favorites are “Waterway” and the Woodpecker. GREAT shots! thx as always for allowing me the vicarious….

    July 27, 2012
    • On this particular day, both of us REALLY needed some soothing-of-the-spirits — and Nature delivered, as always. I’m so glad you enjoyed with us! I wish I was closer to the woodpecker — he was really far away, hopping from tree-to-tree, but being a pileated, and huge, he still came out in the shot.

      July 27, 2012
  4. looks like a fun place to explore 🙂

    July 27, 2012
    • It really is… What’s so wonderful about this area is the variety and lengths of trails offered — and so far, we’ve always been alone!

      July 27, 2012
  5. Another great post! I am especially intrigued by the epiphytes! Thanks for including a close-up of the big one.

    July 27, 2012
    • Thank so much! It’s a most beautiful and amazing area — I love to share it. That particular plant was enormous — feet wide / high. I see tiny examples for sale up north, and I laugh (akin to us spending $$ for pumpkins!). 🙂

      July 27, 2012
  6. These are absolutely beautiful ! You do such a beautiful job capturing nature at its best. Thanks for sharing.

    July 27, 2012
    • Thank so much!! That’s really a lovely compliment… Especially when confronted with the cacophony of the Everglades flora! I can breathe when I’m out there, though — and this unique beauty needs to be preserved.

      July 28, 2012
  7. I have never visited your part of the country but I know I would like it because I sure enjoy your photos of it. I did spend time in coastal North Carolina back in the 60’s and enjoyed the swamp areas there (except for training sessions).

    July 28, 2012
    • Aw, that’s truly an utmost compliment — that my photos would inspire such an outing! Thanks so very much! But if you can allow yourself a visit, it’s truly a must-see for any explorer/hiker — the Everglades being the only ecosystem of its kind on the entire planet. What training were you doing in the swamps of NC, dare I ask?

      July 28, 2012
      • USMC

        July 28, 2012
      • Ah! I have Marine, Navy, and Army in my family. Needless to say there was always interesting talk. I’m trying to remember when the Marine was at Quantico (around Vietnam era)….

        July 30, 2012
  8. Love your blog and nominated it for the One Lovely Blog Award. You can see the nomination here: http://www.themuseisworking.com.

    July 28, 2012
    • THANKS so very much for the vote of confidence, and nomination!! ♥

      July 28, 2012
  9. A swamp hike (even a soggy one) is awesome! Beautiful scenery, FeyGirl. ❤

    July 28, 2012
    • Exactly — you would know, hee! Thanks much, this is a truly beautiful and unique area. I’m thrilled they managed to preserve it!

      July 28, 2012
  10. narhvalur #

    I enjoy always to compare American birds with European! Brilliant sharpness and post here…

    July 29, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I was happy to grab a shot of the pileated woodpecker — he was flitting from tree-to-tree, very quickly. But they’re SO large, that he came out in the image, despite the distance. 🙂

      July 30, 2012
  11. I get a lovely primeval feeling from many of these photos. Such a treat to view – for their beauty and for their contrast to what I see here in typically dry Utah.

    July 29, 2012
    • It’s amazing, and so wonderful to view our shockingly different ecosystems… Your vast expanses are a sight to behold. But primeval is definitely the word for it, here! It’s sad that we have to hunt these areas down — so much having been destroyed without a thought — but I have great hope with funds recently being diverted towards the restoration of the ‘Glades. There’s only one Everglades, after all.

      July 30, 2012
      • Flooded Apoxee Trail: Take Three, the doozy

        An amazing capture. Good for you to bring your camera out. Tell me you used a neck strap, just in case!

        August 13, 2012
      • Thanks so much!! Oh, most definitely… ALWAYS! We often hike in the Everglades, or similar environments — and if I didn’t have a neck strap, my poor (and heavy, after several hours of hiking) Canon would LONG be gone to the wilds! It’s the first thing that meets the flora in many cases. 🙂

        August 14, 2012
  12. marialla #

    ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF MODELS IS THE TREE – BEAUTIFUL PICTURES AND VANTAGE POINTS. EASY TO FALLOW AND GET LOST IN ALL THE GLORY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    August 6, 2012
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed as much as we did! It’s a lovely area. I can’t wait to return! Truly a beautiful example of our Everglades.

      August 6, 2012
  13. narhvalur #

    Fantastic poem and piccies! Ann

    August 26, 2012

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