Monday, January 30, 2023

Walking through the Canal Diggings

 We save our hikes into the diggings for the winter months.

 You go deep into the canal diggings with the land rising on both sides, so very little air moves on the trail. In the summer months it's just too hot and buggy and poison ivy crisscrosses the trail. But in the winter months, it's perfect.

The tall pine trees create a thick bed of pine needles to walk on and the air is hushed. I started to say it was quiet but hushed is a better description. You don't hear any sounds unless an airplane flies overhead.

There are a lot of really good articles (and books) written about the canal diggings but my sweet hubby helped me with some of the pertinent information.

"When I talk about the "canal diggings" I'm referring to a canal that was proposed in 1935 as a 30-foot deep, 150-foot bottom width, Ship Canal for commercial traffic to have a shortcut from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico across Florida from Jacksonville to Yankeetown.

Concerns about salt water intrusion into the fresh water aquifer caused proponents to adjust the canal to a 12-foot depth thus allowing only barge traffic and the name changed to the Cross Florida Barge Canal.

After many starts and stops, construction resumed in 1964 only to be stopped for good in 1971 due to efforts led by environmental activist, Marjorie Harris Carr.

About one third of the canal did get completed, some at each terminus, but the remainder includes long stretches of earth having been dug out and piled up along the sides. Over the ensuing decades the forest has reclaimed this ground.

Today, the 110-mile long, 70,000 acre Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway (renamed in 1998) is a state park that provides over 300 miles of hiking and biking trails on the remnants of the Cross Florida Barge Canal."

Above written by sweet hubby

We walked in the diggings for over 2 hours and only saw one other person.

I want to share photos of the limestone boulders we saw.
It would be fun to play 'what do you see?'

This was a favorite!

There are so many interesting shapes and just think how few people ever get to see them.

Would you want to hike this trail at night?

Maybe when the moon is full?

It would probably be a little spooky!

But I love it and I think you would too!

Have you seen anything unusual this week?

Hike into the DEEP woods and GO WILD!

I'm joining Mosaic Monday HERE 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, January 27, 2023

Playful River Otters and friends!

We always hope for a special sighting when we go to Blue Run Park in Dunnellon.

There's a good chance we'll see lots of neat birds but it's fun to see something out of the ordinary.

Lately, it's been River Otters.

They are a challenge to photograph because the swim under water for a long distance and you never know where they'll 'pop up'!

But they are so cute and fun to see!

A few years ago we watched some Red-shouldered Hawks in a nest. The baby photos were some of my favorites. Old photos in the post HERE.

And we still see the pair near the nest.

We love seeing them all grown up and beautiful.

So perfectly groomed....not a 'hair' out of place.

Oh but this one is having a wild feather day! heehee!

We saw one medium sized Alligator swimming along.

And at the very end of the hike a special bird.

Cedar Waxwing

A beautiful day at the Park! When visitors come, we always take them to Blue Run Park. It's the perfect place to see wildlife and birds. 

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.   

Monday, January 23, 2023

Winter Warmth in Florida

 We have a few cold days but we are warmer than most states in the winter. Today it is supposed to be 80 degrees and we are headed to the Pruitt Trailhead to hike the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve trails.

I know many of you feel like you've been there before but there's always something interesting to see.

Someone asked me what my most favorite trail was and this was it.

Of course there are so many directions you can take. 

And it changes from month to month....

sometimes from week to week.


So these are some neat sightings from HTP in January.

Stork (not a good photo but I wanted to include him) 

We saw hundreds of Tree Swallows.

They are hard to photograph too!

Yellow-rumped Warbler aka butter-butt

We like to drive over there at least once a week and we spend 2 hours there at least when we go. 

So about hiking HTP with me today? (She was concerned that I took all my photos from the Jeep! lol) 

I probably won't be doing this any time soon! 

Hang glider

Or go for a ride in this!


There's a small airport nearby!

American Kestrel

I'm still celebrating my birthday weekend and eating birthday brownies. 

I'll save you one to eat when we finish our hike! 

Come on down! Sunshine and brownies....and HTP! 

It's always fun to get outside and enjoy nature!

I'm joining Mosaic Monday HERE 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, January 20, 2023

An afternoon drive to the Preserve!

We drove past Halpata Tastanaki Preserve while running an errand. 

When we finished and made the turn around, the Jeep drove right into the gate at the Preserve.

It was impossible to drive past it twice in one day without stopping!

Great Blue Heron at a distance

We didn't even get out of the vehicle but we saw so much.


I always encourage everyone that reads my blog to get out in nature and sometimes that means taking a drive to a park or preserve. And if you can't do that, maybe you can sit outside when the weather is nice or look out the window at bird feeders when it's not. Letting your mind relax and enjoy the outdoors is what's good for you!

Great Crested Flycatcher

American Kestrel (on the drive in)

All photos taken from inside the car!

Red Shouldered Hawk

He sees US now! 

And another Kestrel on the drive out!

Time to FLY! 

And guess what? Another year has flown by and it's my birthday this weekend!

And guess what my sweet hubby gave me for my birthday! 

A Victrola record player! 

I've been playing records and dancing and he's been singing! So don't peek in the windows and get skeeeered! We both still have a few of our old 45s! 

I'm sure I'll be out on one of the Florida trails enjoying nature or at least taking a ride some place interesting.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.