Sunday, November 3, 2013

Titusville - a walk along the Tosohatchee Wildlife Refuge

A lake along the way - No Swimming! (alligators)
Titusville is surrounded by wildlife refuges. We had been to Merritt Island Refuge so today we went inland about 20 miles to the Tosohatchee Refuge. It has 30 thousand acres mostly preserved in its original condition. Florida has their counterpart to the Appalachian Trail called, appropriately, the Florida Trail. It goes through the heart of Florida's undeveloped regions, some of which have never been touched by development. Tosohatchee is one such part of the Florida Trail and close by Titusville so we paid a visit today.

Forest Primeval  - The Florida Trail, this is what the first settlers saw - by stop #23
First of all, it's hard to imagine a more extreme contrast between the farm lands seen as you approach the refuge and the impenetrable brush you see once inside. It's hard to see how anything or anyone could possibly navigate through the area - but of course they did, especially the indians. The Florida Trail goes through the heart of the refuge and we stopped by one parking area where the trail passed over the access road. Walking partway down the trail, we were immediately in a forest of palm trees and live oaks and greenery everywhere you looked, a jungle! It was mostly silent with just a few calls of birds but surprisingly no mosquitoes or insects of any type. After 100 ft you could no longer see the road, it was a stunning sight of every possible shade and shape of green! Photos do no justice. You kept wanting to see what was around the bend, around that corner, just pass the next tree... But we had left Hoolie in the car (alligators!) and had to be brief. It was a magical experience.

The reason for the cleared road - it's an access road for the power lines through the heart of the refuge
Pressing onward, we visit Christmas, Florida where a fort was built on Christmas Day - that was just the day the army arrived to build a fort to control the Seminole Indians, hence the name. Unfortunately, they do not allow dogs even on a leash, so we moved on. We stopped by a boat launch on the Indian River with a sign that said, "Swimming at your own risk"! Can you imagine, swimming wasn't prohibited but if an alligator got you, they didn't want to be responsible! Ann went in a fish market on the way home for fresh caught tuna which we had tonight, nothing better. The winds are finally abating somewhat. It mostly blew in the 20's all day long, glad to be tied up and secure here.

No picture of Florida wilds is complete without a live oak
We have one more day with the car to explore before having to get back to work on more mundane things. Can't complain about the weather with temps in the high 70's though, Florida's great in the fall.