Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Crossing the St. Johns River

The Lone Cabbage Restaurant and Air boat ride purveyor seen from the highway 520 bridge over the St. Johns River.

"Key West or Bust" - Day 112

It was a rain shortened day.  I made thirteen miles toward the beach via FL 520 today and then quit in mid-afternoon when a cold rain that had begun as a nuisance turned into a steady soaker.  All day I was hiking the wide grassy shoulder beside busy four-lane highway 520.  It was not an unpleasant walk, though a few mosquitoes began to show up.  The highlight of the day was finding a secret trailhead and white blazed trail behind a closed gate.

This trailhead has no sign identifying it along the highway.  There's just a tiny sign on the high chain link gate that says simply 'please close gate'.  Inside there is this big parking lot and has an inviting white-blazed trail that headed off into the tropical jungle.

I was tempted to follow it, but since there was no map I had no inkling of where it would lead me, and not enough time to just take off and explore.

That was my first nature fix for the day.  Later I noticed one of my favorite mini-ecosystems - the intense competition for real estate that lichens were engaging in on a smooth-barked tree.  I took the photo for the variety of colors but spent time marveling at the drama.  Each lichen had established a territory and was defending it and battling with its neighbor to expand.  From a human reference frame there is no motion, but the evidence of the ongoing dynamic battle at the boundaries is plain to see if you take the time to look.

I ended the day getting soaked as the rain got much heavier than forecast.  I reached the western edge of the town of Cocoa.  Tomorrow I should be on the beach.

Here's a map of today's route:

Crossing the St. Johns River at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Palm Bay, Florida

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