Monday, March 9, 2009

Beauty in the Glades

I recently had the privilege of stepping foot into the amazing part of Florida called the Everglades. When my friends asked why I was so excited about the opportunity to go camping and hiking with the Sierra Club in the Everglades, I explained it like this; for an environmentalist/nature lover, the Everglades are on our list of the 7 Wonders of the World. And it's so close to me that I'd be a fool to miss the chance to go see this amazing place before humans disturb it even more.

Part of our adventure took us through the Picayune Strand State Forest. We had a beautiful hike through an area that is very obviously wet during the rainy season (probably with about 2 feet of standing water) that is currently bone dry. There we saw bald cypress, pond cypress, air plants/bromeliads, hatpins, and so many more beautiful plants and lots of birds as well. Here are a few pictures from just this one 3-mile hike. Oh, and another fun fact...there were two panther cubs just born in this park (unfortunately or fortunately we did not encounter them)!

Cypress leaves emerging
Hatpin - this one looks like it grew around another plant...check out that squirrely stem!
Bromeliad hanging/hovering on the site of a cypress tree.

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