|On Sunday morning PanamaRob and I met up with his friend Firewalker (aka Linda) at
the Rock Bluff Primitive Campsite in Torreya State Park. It was only about a mile long
hike in but it was a nice one. At first you are hiking in a relatively dry long-leaf pine
forest. There are some interesting red clay bluffs along the route along with a few
wildflowers blooming. As we got closer to the Apalachicola River the forest became
more shaded, damp, and lush. Near the campsite there are two Torreya Trees growing.
Torreya trees are among the rarest conifers in the world. There grow in isolated
locations only in northern Florida, Central California, Japan, and China.
That night camped on a bluff a hundred feet or so above the Apalachicola River was one
of the most magical ones I have ever spent in the woods. The reason being that I saw
fireflies for the first time in my life! Hundreds if not thousands of fireflies put on
quite a show for us as it got dark. Both Rob and Linda said it was one of the best
lightnin' bug displays they had ever seen! And it was my first :) It was as if there
were all sorts of randomly blinking Christmas lights in the woods... it was beautiful!
I also saw my first wild armadillo that night. We heard many rustle around in the
leaves after it got dark and finally were able to see one - what funny looking creatures
they are! And, right before we headed to bed, we heard two male alligators bellowing -
that was certainly one of the scariest sounds I'd ever heard!
In the morning we hiked back out to our vehicles then took a loop dayhike of about 3
miles. We saw many other wildflowers, lots of poison ivy, and a snake (probably a
garter snake). It was interesting hiking through the lush forest along the river as
there were plants that I normally associate with people's yards including magnolia and
fan palm. People out here in California plant these in their yards but I've never seen
them grow in the wild!
It was great hiking with Linda because she knew a lot about the plants and history of
the area because she grew up in Florida. She also has hiked most of the Appalachian
|The Apalachicola River as seen from near our
campsite in Torreya State Park
|Click here to read more about Torreya State Park
Click here to read about the California Torreya Trees
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|Long Leaf Pine grows throughout
much of northern Florida
|Interesting red bluffs along the trail
|Rob hikes ahead of me with his big
pack (lots of gear!)
|A little flower in the Pea Family
|I think this is chicory
|Wild black berry?
|Not sure what this flower is... Can anyone help ID it?
|Not sure what this flower is either... Can anyone help ID it?
|Okay, so I'm not sure what any of these are!
So many new flowers to learn!
|An interesting vine
|Don't Touch! Poison Ivy
|Cypress Trees have funny root systems including
"knees" that poke up out of the ground
|A plant took root inside this rotted tree stump
|Torreya foliage, above and below
|I think this is milkweed
|Two unidentified sunflowers, above and below
|Oak Leaf Hydrangea, above and below
Linda says that the inflorescence below was the
largest she'd ever seen!