We got our exercise on the banks of the Suwanee River today. And, yes, I did sing as I walked along. But, Stephen Foster is celebrated in the nearby Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. Big Shoals is a surprise section of the river, where it drops nine feet in less that a quarter mile, creating Class 3 rapids. That is amazing for Florida. The park is located in a state forest so it is very isolated and quiet.
The two-and-a-half-mile round trip is along the river, but we didn’t always see it through the vegetation. After spending time out in the southwest, the profusion of vegetation was almost overwhelming. We loved it. We are back in Live Oak and Spanish Moss country.
There is a bat house at the beginning of the trail to the Big Shoals. Unfortunately, we did not stay till dusk to see them flying out.
I saw another patch of the mysterious white stuff on the ground and remembered that I had looked it up, but not posted the answer. Frank Wilmer also commented “lichen?” which is the right answer. It is called Reindeer Moss, but is not a moss. My camera lens was a bit foggy.
I was explaining lichens to Andy. Lichens are not plants or animals, as far as I can figure. They are made of two things: (then I forgot what the two things are and ended my lecture). Wikipedia to the rescue. Lichen From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fascinating.
“A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship. The combined life form has properties that are very different from the properties of its component organisms.”
Here is another close up. I snatched this image from the web. These today were softer than the ones at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.
The Suwanee is a black river, turned dark by the tannin in the surrounding trees.
We stopped to look at the river next to a large pine tree. The individual plates were huge. I didn’t know that “plates” is the term; I looked it up with Google. As in most places where humans have harvested trees, there are not many large ones in the forest here.
This was the view of the river at that spot.
We did not see much wildlife, but I did get a picture of a lizard.
I suppose, other that the rapids, the theme of today’s walk was fungus. I have never seen so many types and colors along a mile and a quarter trail.
There were more pink than anything else.
I don’t think we’ve ever seen a purple mushroom before.
Of course, there were also white ones.
We saw something like this growing on the Flame Azaleas at Max Patch, but this one is pink.
The forest floor also had patches of bright green moss.
The most common and abundant plant is the Saw Palmetto.
We spotted a swamp behind these.
We could hear the rapids well before we got to them. I could not get a clear picture due to all the plants. I obeyed the sign asking us not to climb down the bank. Others have not and got better pictures.
I also obeyed this sign. They don’t have to tell me twice.
Here is a closer look at the brown water.
When we walked back out, Andy noted, “This was a good place to walk. It was fun guy”.