Our first adventure took us only about 6 blocks away from our home. WHO KNEW WE HAD SWAMP NEAR US?? Well obviously several folks..HAHA...we had no clue but now we do and so do you. It's a nature trail called Melvin Roberts Parks or better know to the locals as Cedar Street Park. When we first drove in we saw a baseball field, tennis courts and some basketball courts. What caught our eye was the covered picnic area and the swings. What really caught my eye was a sign that said nature trail...a rock laid path around beautiful cypress trees and a gazebo sitting in the middle of a tiny portion of swamp. I still can not believe that there is swamp so close.
There is my little man (who is growing wayyy to fast these days..LOL) with a pack of crackers in his hand. I have to admit that we didn't just happen upon the park, neighbors told us about it BUT they said there was a tiny pond where you could feed the fish. They kinda left out the part that it was a freakin swamp!!! OK deep breath....ahhhh...there I'm calm now. I LOVE nature and love to explore nature. I just like to have a little bit of warning before I head off to a swamp.
Swamps really are beautiful areas. So much flora and fauna to be found. I have always liked cypress trees especially the little stumps that grow around them. Talk about inspiration....I saw Santa's and wizard's just staring out at me. If it wasn't a state park I would have loved to have cut a few and painted them so you could see what my muse was showing me. Of course, I'm a good nature lover and I totally and completely respect the law...so I didn't cut any.
Do you see that orange right in the middle of the photo? That's a KOI fish and believe me it was one of the biggest I think I have ever seen. It must have weighed at least 30 lbs. It stayed right in the middle of the swamp...happily and lazily swimming around.
There were several KOI fish swimming around. These two were among the grass and both stayed right next to one another. One orange with black spots and one white with black spots....both fairly good size too. Aren't they pretty? This is why I want a new camera....one with a zoom lens. Perhaps I need to drop a few hints to the old hubbikins!!
The Chazman threw some of the crackers to the KOI but they didn't want to come in close enough to get them but we soon discovered why. The swamp is filled with painted turtles and two HUGE snapping turtles.
Look close and you can see one of the painted turtles in the upper left hand corner. The one you can really see was one of the snapping turtles.
Here is a better pic of him. I leaned WAYYYY over to get this shot...thank goodness the gazebo was built strong. See him poking his head out....patiently waiting for another cracker or two. That or he was smiling for the picture. ^_^ Among the turtles...there were little black fish trying their best to join the buffet and they did get a nibble or two. Those turtles were greedy little things. They didn't want to share with any others until this little guy came out of hiding....
Ahhh yep....that's exactly what you think it is...a baby alligator. He was about 48 inches long and surprised the dickens out of us when he decided to come out and see just what was going on. The Chazman saw him first and started tapping my arm and kept saying in a whisper "Ahhh mom...mom...mom" until I turned to him. We were so amazed that, there, right in front of us was a cute little gator. He was even eating the crackers. Needless to say, he got first dibs on the rest that were thrown out in the water. He didn't care for the camera much though....he would stay close to the gazebo until I held it up and then he would swim around behind a tree and peek out at us.
We were ohhhing and a ahhhing at him and then noticed that we might be fixing to see a stand off between cute baby gator and one of the big old snapping turtles. I don't know if you can see it but the turtle is looking up at the gator (on the side away from the tree) and the gator was watching the turtle and it got really tense there for a bit. I threw a cracker in the water behind the turtle and of course being the greedy thing he was he turned to get the cracker. Little baby gator just floated by the tree for a bit. I began thinking that the mean old snapper could really hurt that baby and then I begin thinking "HOLD UP....WAIT A SECOND" where there is a baby there has to be a "GULP" momma!! We started looking around but we never did see her, although I'm fairly sure that she was quietly watching us.
It really was so quiet and peaceful sitting under the gazebo and watching. After all the crackers were gone and the turtles retreated under the gazebo and baby gator slowly swam back off into the grass we started walking back towards the swings. I caught a beautiful dragonfly on a leaf.....
Have you ever heard dragonflies called snake doctors? That's what my great grandmother would call them. She also told me that where ever there were snake doctors then of course there had to be snakes. I so didn't even think of snakes while we were sitting in the gazebo but once I saw the dragonfly then I started looking around. We didn't see any until we started walking on the rock trail to go to the swings and I think we actually scared him more than he did us. Well....ok not us but me...the Chazman wanted to touch it. NOOOO, I yelled and I got "OHHH MOM" back as a reply. Needless to say that he and I had a long (very long) discussion about snakes and that they should be left alone and in their natural habitat. Ohhh, you want to see the snake.......
Now....I don't discriminate against snakes. I don't care if it's 3 inches long or 30 feet long...they all scare the hibbie jibbies out of me. They are pretty and some have beautiful colors but they are one of God's creatures that should be seen (from far far away) and not touched. Just my thoughts......
After Chaz and Daddy had some fun swinging, we left our neighborhood swamp lands and went to the grocery store and then to the beach. It was a very good day for adventures.
Until next time.............HUGS,