We live right next door to an incredibly beautiful natural area, the Oxbow Center in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
The area lies adjacent to the north fork of the Saint Lucie River and is special to me because of the natural diversity of the area. In a short walk, you can go from pine flatwoods to lush primordial swamps and see everything in between.
It gets a little spooky at times. I have to admit it. Not being a native Floridian, sometimes I hear a rustle in the palmettos and startle, my imagination jumping from visions of a 26 ft python to wild boars to the elusive Florida panther, lying in wait for me to walk past.
When I walk, I try to put the neuroses aside and keep the dogs from sniffing too close to the palmetto.
We started our walk last evening after Rob turned off the computer, ending his workday. The sun was about to set as the dogs happily jumped into the car and we took the quick trip to the park. Soon we were on our way through the pine forest.
In one area, we found ‘pig sign’, evidence that pigs had rooted around the soil, looking for tasty grubs and worms.
We found this guy in his hole just off the trail. I think he was thinking, “Maybe if I pretend I’m a rock they won’t see me.”
Wherever there is standing water for longer periods, you can begin to see the shift from savannah to jungle. Suddenly more palms appear.
You can see the transition from pineland to swamp here, with the plants shifting to those in the photo at the beginning of this post. The Oxbow Center has raised platforms that allow you to see this from a higher viewpoint.
Air ferns live in the canopy above.
Other trails lead along the lush Saint Lucie River. Development along much of the river has been restricted with parks and preserves lining its banks. Kayaking here is peaceful, with great views of many types of birds and, of course those Florida alligators.
We wandered around the trails until it was nearly dark, chatting about our day and enjoying the beauty of the place and the peacefulness it offers.
If you are interested in going to see it yourself, check out this link for directions, hours, etc.
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