A Walk in Savannas Preserve State Park

Sugar and Chula brighten up this morning when I ask them, “Do you want to go for a walk in the woods?”

That’s doggie speak for, “Do you want to get a ride in the car, then have an amazing adventure?”  Sugar yips happily and starts dancing around the kitchen as Chula begins pulling on my pant leg and running back and forth to the front door.

Chula helps me put her harness on (Really, she does), and we head out to the car.

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Today, we’re heading to the Savannas Preserve State Park, which is just a few miles away.  It’s a large park, extending 10 miles along the Indian River from Fort Pierce, through Port Saint Lucie to Jensen Beach.  It is incredible to me that such a wild and natural place can be contained within such a populated area and its beauty is testament to the value of preserving natural lands.

We park at the Nature Education Center and soon find the trail.

Chula, of course, has decided to lead.  That way, she gets first dibs on all the sniffs on the trail.

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“C’mon guys–Hurry UP!   There are good sniffs ahead!”

Sugar and I tag behind, taking in the scenery.

We see some pig sign as soon as we enter the trail–It’s dug up on both sides for several hundred feet.   They sure have to work hard to get a few worms and grubs!

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We wander the trails, admiring today’s sky and the spectacular scenery.

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Can you believe this park is in the city?  There’s only nature as far as you can see!

To Chula’s chagrin, I start looking at the wildflowers.

She pulls on the leash, but I don’t relent.  It’s time I expanded my wildflower knowledge to Florida, so I start looking around.

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I admire the shape and prolific blooms of this Fetterbush plant.  The Seminoles used the wood from the Fetterbush to make the bowls for their pipes.

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This is a mystery flower.  I even looked on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s site to see if I could find it. I love the creamy color of its flower.   Any ideas about its name?

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Here’s a sweet little Bachelor’s Button.  Did you know that men used to wear these to help them know if their sweethearts returned their love?  If the flower died, so did the relationship…

Soon we are on our way again and Chula is thrilled.

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You can see that this area burned a year or so ago.  I’m beginning to realize how central wildfires are to the natural ecosystem in Florida.  Many of the pine trees are dependent upon fire–their seeds won’t germinate without it.  Pines grow very tall, with needles located only at the very top of the tree.  I wonder if this is an adaptive strategy–if there are wildfires, there is less chance for needles higher up to burn.

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The vegetation regenerates quickly after a fire.

Chula’s ready to go, so we head down the trail.  

Soon we come to a sign that says it’s 5 miles to ‘Easy Street’.  Wow, I always wondered how to get to Easy Street.  Now we all know the way–just follow the trail at the Savannas Preserve.

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Soon we find the canoe dock.

The park is equestrian-friendly with a separate parking area for horse trailers, water available for horses and well-marked trails.   I see that there’s a small corral at the boat launch.

The view into the marsh is beautiful today.

We sit on the dock and enjoy the scene.

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All too soon, it’s time to head back home.

 

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“Awww shucks, do we really need to go home, Mom?”

Here’s a link to some incredible Florida wildflower photos.

 

 

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