Yesterday I walked our park's 6.5 mile hiking trail. I need to get out and stretch my legs a bit.
When I started, I ran into Steve, who is a ranger in central Florida who is visiting us this week. Steve said he saw a couple diamond back rattlers, some cottonmouth water moccasins, and heard a possible bear crash through the bushes. And the water was about hip-deep in some areas. So I decided to skip that half of the trail.
I did the eastern half of the trail, and walked much of the service roads instead. I probably covered about 5 miles total.
It has been a very wet winter. We have never totally dried out, like we should be about this time of the year. The water table is still very high. I don't think we will dry out totally before the rain starts again.
Here is the service road in the middle of area. There are still about three large puddles to go around in the road, which is usually dry by this time in February. I noticed the pine pollen around the edges.
Here are some interesting tracks. I think they belong to one of our big cypress fox squirrels, a sub-species of fox squirrels that are in three different counties in southwest Florida. They are a pretty orange color, with white and black face and paws.
And here are some panther tracks, of which I saw a number of along the north boundary line. These are two prints, one on top of the other. The front and back leg stepping in the same place.
And some deer bones, in the area where I saw more panther tracks. Big kitty food, no doubt.
Here are some real nice bobcat tracks.
And on the barbwire fence on the north boundary, are several animal crossings over the fence lines. One strand of barb wire had hair attached. It looked like deer to me.
I kept my feet dry on the north part of the trail, but coming back I decided to take the eastern half of the trail instead of the fire road. There were several wet and muddy spots, especially the southeast of the trail where I sank into a lot of mud in the cypress swamp area. Kind of twisted my ankle in one of them, and just getting over that. But, it wouldn't be a good swamp walk without the swamp!