The title, as it turned out, of last weeks photo safari, is, The Hike of Hardly Any Photographs. And not because I didn't take any pictures. I absolutely did. As you can see in the photo above, I was snap happy for hours. In the end, I took more than 200 shots! Wow! And once I had edited and deleted to my hearts content there were still a lot. And some of them were pretty good too. But something went awry and before I could write up my usual after hike report, they vanished.
Not joking even a little bit. It was like a really bad magicians trick. They existed and then blink, they didn't exist anymore. I looked every way that I knew how to look and then I called upon my in-house computer help desk (that would be Tim) and nope, the pictures are just gone. It's a mystery for sure.
Fortunately for me, Joy was kind enough to share a few photos with me (I will make note of which pictures are hers - the photo of me at the top of the page is one of them). Also I remembered that had already sent a few pictures to a friend of mine back in Colorado and I was able to retrieve those out of my sent box. Whew! So yes, there are a few pictures to share with you :)
So I guess I will start with the place where we hiked. There is a local hiking spot called Jelk's Preserve that we never visit. Well I suppose we had to have gone at least once, a long time ago because we kept making the intentional decision to go elsewhere every week. But this past hike we kind of asked each other if we remembered why we never go to Jelk's. And the answer was, "Nope".. Neither of us recalled exactly why we avoid that particular place. There had to be a reason, just it had been so long that we didn't know what that reason was. And we felt that was reason enough to check it out.
It was a chilly morning. And I know you guys who live in genuinely cold places keep laughing whenever I say that, which is fair. So I suppose what I ought to be saying it was a Chilly Morning for Florida. Better? It was cool enough that we could see our breath in the air when we talked and there was mist rising off the water. (the mist off the water photo is Joy's)
Because we are kind of crazy, we were wearing shorts! But we were also smart enough to be wearing sweatshirts to stave off the worst of the morning cold. One of these days I need to find a pair of fingerless gloves though. I found myself walking alternating hands in my pocket through most of the early hours. BUT the light was gorgeous. And you know I am a sucker for those pretty light moments. Here's the only one I still have:
Fairly early on in the hike we found a woodpecker squawking at us from the tippytop of a tree. We could only see his bright right head on and off as he circled and scolded and popped up and down. But the camera gods were with me and I did get one good shot of him!
Heeheehee, what a character! There were also some very impressive spider webs that if you stand just right and catch the light coming through at the exactly perfect angle are rather beautiful. Each web is a singular work of art. Just usually they are hard to capture. I got lucky this time.
It was a little mucky here and there and in a few instances water completely covered the trail but someone thoughtfully built some bridges! Some more elaborate than others. This one was a little precarious: (obviously Joy took the photos of me, like this one)
Joy trooped across with no hesitation at all. But because I am not nearly as graceful as she, I took my time and even stopped now and again as I crossed to catch my breath, settle my balance and to take a photo.
There were some rather photogenic flowers here and there and a striking leaf or two that caught my eye. And then my camera's eye.
But what we saw more of than anything was hog sign. And you know how I feel about feral hogs. No Bueno! There were those enormous hog traps scattered about and some sections of the trail that were so chewed up that you couldn't really tell where the trail was. Thank goodness we saw no actual oinkers, but I know that they were lurking nearby. We can feel the lurking. It's a little distracting from the hiking and the picture taking when out of the corner of your eye (and ear) you are always on alert for the actual piggies and not just hog sign.
Despite all of that, we had a good time, it was a good long hike, and yes we took lots of photos but the creepy hog indicators everywhere are probably why we do not hike there. We will have to make a note to wait another four years before returning to this particular preserve.
One last photo for you. This is how Joy and I feel when we are out hiking with our cameras. Here's Joy looking relaxed and happy (and a little chilly):
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.