Hard to believe, we know. But we didn't. The winter winds were still blowing full force down at the beach so instead we went to explore the trails at a local park called Halpatiokee.
One website we looked at stated "This might be the best regional park in South Florida, judging strictly by its natural components."
Fun Fact: Halpatiokee is a Seminole word meaning "Alligator water". We did not see any halpatters (alligators) on this day but we did see the okee (water). The centerpiece of the park is the South Fork River (photo above).
The landscape along the trails varies from pine flatwoods, oak hammock, scrub and river land.
These pods give the plant its nickname of Rattlepod.
Since we don't tend to read much about where we are going other than how to get there, that was unexpected. Adding our time in Ocala, we've now probably walked three miles of the 1000 mile path. Note: We are not much on over-achievement. Ha Ha
The other day at work, Darlene heard two people say that they found painted rocks in the store. They were very excited and said they had been looking for them. We should mention at this point that these rocks were not for sale. In fact, they are a part of a movement started in our county this past Thanksgiving, by a local family. Although we thought it neat, we honestly had not given the whole thing another thought until today.
The object of Martin County Rocks is to find one / hide one. You can find one and hide one of your own for someone to find or you can find one and re-hide it in another location or somewhere else in the same park, etc. We have yet to paint any of our own but admit that it is quite a catchy little activity. There are something like 9000 people already involved in it throughout the community.
She is definitely out of practice.
We spotted three different kinds of berries on our journey.
Nearly every inch of the trees in this area were covered in epiphytes. Good thing they do not harm their host. The reddish colored ones were new to us and thinner than grass blades. They are called Southern Needleleaf (Tillandsia setacea).
A bit further down the trail we spied something out of place.
Meanwhile, around the bend...
Did you know that the word armadillo means "little armored one" in Spanish?
Did you know that it is only the nine-banded variety that carries leprosy?
Did you know that this is a nine-banded armadillo?
We were not concerned, however, since we had no plans to handle him or eat him nor did we intend to get close enough for him to spit on us. Besides, he never did notice us and when he wasn't foraging, this is typically the view we got.
By the way, did you know that armadillos are native to the new world? This means that the Europeans of the late 15th century gave the armadillo leprosy and not the other way around.
It has been a while since we tried to spot birds in the trees much less photograph them. How did we ever do it?
Do you remember that portent from earlier?
Well, we rounded the corner from bird alley and...
Gopher Tortoises are a threatened species on the Endangered Species List. Like the prairie dog they are a keystone species who shares their burrows with 350 other species.
And that was our time at Halptiokee Regional Park.