You know how it is. You head out the door intending to do one thing, but the conversation leads you in an entirely different direction. That’s what happened yesterday when we set out to see and take photos along the back roads of ‘old Florida’, but we wound up at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Preserve instead. I’ve been there before, but I’ve always been the passenger tagging along with friends who know the park backwards and forwards. Which means that I have no idea how to get around in there so I wasn’t the best guide that a person could hope for. In fact we never did see the scenery I expected to show him, but that was okay, we’ll find that next time. And next time maybe there won’t be bow and arrow hunters in the woods, a fact that kept us close to the road as we got out for pictures. Not that we are hikers. As you can see from the feature photo we found lots and lots of butterflies in the thistles at the side of the road.
The wildlife was keeping a low profile as we drove through. Of course it was afternoon and there is usually more action in the morning and at dusk. Still my friend was happy to see the Florida landscape as it was before people decided to ‘improve’ it…
We visited a Rainforest yesterday. In Gainesville, FL. With Butterflies. A shorter road trip this time. Your price of admission included visiting the museums associated with the University of Florida, so we saw more than just a host of butterflies. But for now it’s the butterflies that stole the show.
We set the record for heat in the Tampa area yesterday. If it wasn’t a record in Gainesville then I’m sure it was close. Plus the humidity was even more than what was natural to enhance the rainforest atmosphere. But it was a worthwhile trip, we were happy we got to enjoy this colorful place.
We looked into the haze at every stop along Skyline Drive. I don’t know if it was better or worse than usual while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from taking shot after shot at every overlook we came to. A couple of days ago I mentioned my previous trip there when the pop-up camper popped off the hitch of my car, and how I just headed for home after that. What I didn’t mention is that my cousin was a supervising ranger at Skyline Drive for 21 years, and that he lives in the area. We had lunch with him on Cape Cod while we were there, but he wasn’t going to be back home when we got to his area the next week. So imagine my surprise when I posted a picture of a surprise engagement shot I got on our first day on the drive, and he commented that his farmhouse is in the background of the shot. Small world and lucky accident of timing, it all factored into the shot, which I love all the more now.
There are so many pictures that now I find them hard to group into a cohesive story. The iPhone will tell me where the pictures were taken, and when, which is helpful provided I also took a few shots with my phone as well as the camera. As we approached home I said that I didn’t know when I’d be ready for a long trip like this one was, but the thought of a couple of days here and there is already sounding like a good idea.
Heritage Gardens was supposed to be about the hummingbirds. I was there two years ago and came across a shrub that was just off the walking path and the flowers there were making the hummingbirds very happy. And the hummingbird moths too. So in my usual way I totally expected them to be right there waiting for me to take more pictures of them this time. So much of life has changed in the last two years, why should I expect the hummingbirds to be carrying on in the same way? I’ve certainly chosen a bit of a different path for myself these days, I guess they can too.
Wait, I said this was about the bees, didn’t I?
Lego sculptures were found throughout the gardens.
We had such a nice day. And when we got back my friend got to reunite with two close friends from childhood for the first time in over 20 years. After all my travels and reconnections these past few years I know just how great that feels. What a very nice day.
Not too long ago I was at the Nature Coast Botanical Garden when the model train was running. The conductor said that his grandchildren were coming soon so he had to hurry up and finish his work on the train village. I think he did a great job. And the last time I was at the botanical garden the shrubs had just been cut back, so there were very few flowers and not so many butterflies. My how things have changed in a few weeks.
The last time I was in Charleston missed the turn into my cousin’s development, but that meant I drove right past this gem of a place. I knew I’d want to visit when I came back this time. It was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, and consequently endured and survived our county’s history as the country was born, and as it struggled with the American Revolution as well as the Civil War. It’s said to be the oldest public garden in the county, opening in 1870, and continuing today.
I’ve hardly put a dent in the pictures I took today. It was a good day.