I've been wanting to take a trip to the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve just so that I could photograph some of the scenery and critters that are there. I didn't go swamp hiking to hunt for chids...although I did look for them from the trails along the swamp edge (didn't locate any). I was able to take a ton of photos, and have narrowed them down to 20 that I'd like to share.
I'll post the first ten here...the scenery shots...and the second 10 in the next frame.
Welcome to the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve! This sign is posted at the far end of the preserve property.
Some cypress knees sticking out of the swamp.
A wild Royal Palm located along the trail from gate 15 (this guy was about 40 feet tall).
A section of the swamp along Janes Scenic Drive casting a clear reflection in teh water.
Another Royal Palm growing amongst bald cypress near gate 12.
A swamp scene from along the gate 12 trail.
I call this a swamp lily...don't know the real name.
Here's a whole grove (if that's what you'd call it) of Royal Palms growing along the gate 12 trail.
A swath of Boston ferns growing along the trail.
A panoramic view of the grass prairie near the beginning of Janes Scenic Drive.
Thanks for your comment on the spider pic...he is pretty cool.
I did see some areas off of trail 12 that looked like they might have had low water levels, but nothing completely dry. I don't know how far back I went there, but I hiked back and forth over a 2 to 2 ½ hour period. I then went to the west end of the preserve on Janes Scenic Drive, and scouted around for a while...I saw an 8 foot gator...and then I didn't...so I got back in my Highlander and headed east again.
I did stop at trail 19...it looked dry to me in the whole area, but decided not to hike it. Instead I drove up to trail 15 and hiked it for about an hour...maybe 1 1/2 hours. It was very wet there, and at times the water was just about level with the trail...I actually stopped that hike because I spooked myself...I've seen way too many sci-fi flicks with gargantuan or mutated wildlife/gators...and after having seen the gators I did, hiking by myself and having only an aluminum pole and camera tripod for defense...well, I suppose you get the picture.
All in all, the trip was great, and I was in the preserve for a total of 6 hours.
Sounds like you had a full day. Too me a bad day in the strand is better then most days anywhere else. I'm still looking forward to April when Ross comes down and I can show you guys some sweet spots. It will be dry then.