February 23rd, 2023
As you can clearly see, Joy and I were positively giddy to be back out on another Photo Safari this week! Another gorgeous day, Another marvelous hike and I am calling this one, the Hike of Pleasant Surprises!
Our last hike was a bit lackluster when it came to photos and this one more than made up for it. We were happy snapping almost from the first moment that we arrived. This particular hike was in the Oscar Scherer State Park. We chose the Green Trail to start off with (although by the end we had also been on the Red Trail and the Yellow Trail - we tend to wander). We chose the Green Trail arbitrarily but remembered that one headed toward an eagle's nest that we were aware of. We were doubtful that we would actually see an eagle there - wrong time of year y'see. But we were pleasantly surprised. Joy spotted the male, standing strong and proud at the top of a very tall tree surveying his domain. I missed getting the photos, dang! But Wow, eagle's never stop being impressive let me tell ya! After he flew off (cursing us, no doubt, "no pictures, please!") we surveyed the nest (from afar of course!) and were delighted to learn that Mrs. Eagle was in residence!
That picture, I got:
They were not the only birds we saw, of course. I have a few other photos for you. But only a few. I am not so good at capturing birds as it turns out. But for the bird lovers among ya, here you go:
We continued merrily along what turned out to be a rather long - about four hours and more than five miles - trek, and then there was the big surprise. I mean, Whoa! Surprise! We were hiking a particularly tricky bit that is steeply sloped with loose rocks and thick roots that have broken through the surface of the soil and are ready to trip us up at every turn, so I was looking down rather than up. So obviously, it was Joy who spotted him. This guy:
Another eagle! This one, as Joy explained to me, was an adolescent, kind of a teenager eagle. He was magnificent! And the best part. He stayed put! We took a few photos, hike quietly closer, took a few more, hiked quietly closer and etc until we were literally directly underneath the branch that he was perched upon. Wow!
We were so taken with this fellow that we took loads of photos. I cannot quite decide which is my favourite shot so, with apologies, here are several:
While we were taking these pictures, and without intending to, Joy and I were kind of blocking the narrow trail and out of the corner of our eyes, we saw two other hikers coming our way. Naturally, we stepped back to let them by and instead, with smiles they tippy toed closer and whispered, "what are you seeing?" I pointed and explained that it was an eagle! They both looked again as I gave them a verbal "map" (the dead tree to the left of the live pine, 2nd branch from the top, right side) and then when they spied him, their mouths dropped open, their eyes got very wide and their cellphones came up, clickclickclick~
Their accents were of either the UK or perhaps Australia? (I say that with ignorance and apologies. With my less than perfect hearing and unfamiliarity, they sound very much the same to me) These two gentlemen were so excited to see this magnificent creature! I loved how quiet and respectful they were. Exactly the sort of fellow hikers we love to come across. Joy told them a bit about the bird and they listened with fascination. Eventually they passed by us and took other photos from yet another angle before moving on. It was a terrific exchange :)
One of the funniest things we saw during the hike I had to blink a few times because I wasn't absolutely positive what I was seeing. In the middle of the forest, without nothing but foresty sorts of things around it, appropros of nothing at all, was a wooden staircase. I briefly wondered if I was hallucinating. We came to a full stop. "Jo, do you see that?" I asked. "What the heck?" was her response so I knew it was really there. Hilarious! Why oh why oh why is there a staircase in the middle of the forest?? I have no idea at all, not one single clue.
So hmmm, let's see, what else did we see? There were a few flowers and some pretty trees:
We spent some time at the old train trestle. I'm not sure why that is so fascinating to us, but it never stops being a draw. As time goes by and nature reclaims it more and more, it changes and those changes are endlessly intriguing. The Legacy Trail which is a very popular hiking/biking trail that now extends from Venice to Sarasota (and there are plans in place for extensions in both directions), runs right alongside the trestle which allowed for the photos of the bicycler through the railings.
I guess that takes care of most of the highlight of the Hike of Pleasant Surprises. Well, with the exception of the Rando files. There are almost always a few leftover things that don't fit into any of the other categories. Here they are:
One never knows how a hike is going to turn out. Could be good, could be meh, could be awful! But not knowing, never stops us from heading out on the trails coz there is only one way to find out. Perhaps we are brave, perhaps we are foolish, it doesn't matter one bit. We will be out there, regardless, come what may. Thanks for coming along.
Wouldn't it be awesome to one day come along with us in person??? We would love that ;)
Leave a Reply.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.