Monday, August 6, Myakka River Floodplain Walk –
We got out to have a look at the Myakka Conservancy Preserve and as we were close to the Park, we decided to have another look at some areas we had visited on July 15.
The Park Manager’s message had been clear, “Early and heavy seasonal rainfall in the area had rapidly brought on wet conditions throughout the park and we should expect that many paths would be wet or flooded.” We had a question about identifying sawgrass and the Park Manager called up Ranger Mike Stanfield who came by the kiosk to describe what we had been looking for. Mike was really helpful and shared information about several plant species in the area.
We found the message about water levels to accurately describe the conditions. In terms of images, high water levels on the floodplain created a world of mirrors and every log seemed to take on the shape of an animal; every sound was magnified. We saw an abundance of wading birds and an alligator roaming near a wild hog trap. Farther down the road, we encountered a doe and her fawn. They stayed around for a few minutes looking back curiously at us and we thought that they were probably the same ones we had seen on our previous visit, not far from the same location.
We walked in along the Nature Trail/Canopy Walk searching for the Observatory Tower. We did not find it but had a great walk through the forest. As soon as we entered the trailhead we realized that large portions of the paths were flooded. We had to walk in the water and immerse ourselves in that mesmerizing world of reflections. The sky and the canopy reflected on the surface of the water. The green of the leaves bounced off the submerged earth. Tannins darkened the ground to resemble ochre. As we walked through the water, the ripples created by our feet accentuated the already hard-to-make-up perspective. On that day, the floodplain of the Myakka River was at the limit of illusion and apparition.
Plant Atlas: http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/