Last weekend we took a short ride to the St Mark's Wildlife Refuge. It was a great way to spend some of our Saturday morning. This was like a glimpse into the past. So quiet.
You feel like you’ve gone back centuries if you are alone hearing only the sounds of water lapping along the shorelines, birds calling and the occasional grunt of an alligator.
It’s not that far away from where we live. You can forget about the traffic, the malls and crowds of people when you wander around the many walking trails there. It’s evidently a bird watcher’s paradise as we saw many expensive and large camera set ups. For what it's worth, bird watchers are quiet people. No shouting back and forth at one another. They just blend and observe quietly. I like that.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day to roam around and look at alligators, birds and the lighthouse. Salt water marshes cover a good portion of the park, the swaying fronds of Cordgrass lit up in the sun.
There were small colonies of ducks in the water, some in straight lines as they traversed across the salty water. We saw four alligators, that was very cool. We watched as one line of ducks were swimming along happily, unbeknownst to them, toward an alligator. The gator only had his eyes and part of the head out of the water. We wondered if we’d see him (or her) feasting on duck.
Suddenly the lead duck (Duck on Point) noticed the gator and made a rapid turn. Through whatever communication they have all the ducks gathered into a circular pattern, bunching together. The maneuver happened in seconds, complete waterfowl cooperation!
This is a shot at the end of one trail. You can go walk on the jetty. Some people were crabbing. I think. They had some sort of net and lots of coolers.
Some coolers were on little wagons. I was curious about all that but never had a chance to ask any of muck-booting wearing people walking around on the jetty.
We saw what must have been 30 or more fiddler crabs, small as my thumb, racing sideways to get away from us giants as we towered over then on the sandy embankment.
Crab photo credit
Here are some gator photos. They were just sunning themselves, probably oblivious to all the photos taken of them. I was reading that if an alligator lives beyond 2 years in the wild then lifespan potential for them is 50 years.
The lighthouse is no longer open for tours. I heard the steps are rotting away and it isn’t safe to climb them anymore. What a lonely life it must have been for the family of a lighthouse keeper. Totally isolated.
After walking and riding around in the wildlife area we went to the Riverside Restaurant. It’s one we hit now and then but I can tell you, they are proud of their food. It’s a bit expensive but I suppose you are paying for a view of the St Mark’s River as well as decent food. It was certainly fun getting together with another couple and having an outing on the trike. We don’t do that but every blue moon for sure.
Hoping for a ride to the Valdosta area this upcoming weekend and searching out a new BBQ restaurant. It’s always fun to ride to eat.
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