Friday, April 17, 2009

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Earlier in the day when we hit Shired Island, we first visited a place called San Felasco Hammock State Park. There isn't much there in the way of infrastructure. It consists of many acres of protected forest that sits adjacent to the Interstate. While the forest is beautiful (it's a mature hardwood/pine mix), because of its proximity to the highway there is constant noise of engines and tires on pavement. This is distracting, and many of the normal sounds of an unspoiled forest setting are lost in the constant drone of US commerce.

I'd read that this forest is home to some state champion trees. However, I don't know what species, and there's no way to know where these individual specimen are located within the forest. So we picked a trail and began walking. There were two trails from which to choose on the side of the road where we parked, and I quickly tricked Carole into the longer of the pair. We took the 2.3 mile Sinks Trail which took us throug surprisingly hilly terrain and beside a number of sinkholes, one of them quite large.

The forests were filled with various birds. Through the unending drone of traffic we could hear them calling, but did not catch sight of any, save for the occasional shadow or the quick flash of movement in distant limbs. As for wildlife, we saw nothing at all. Not even any bugs of note. The temperature was unseasonably cool that day and the wind was very brisk, which made for a nice environment for hiking, but not much good for seeing wildlife.

The most interesting thing in this patch of woodland were the sinkholes. Some of them were quite old and were in the process of being filled in by detritus and new plant growth. Maybe in a few hundred years the older of the bunch will be just low bowls covered in leaf litter where occasional rain creates pools that quickly drain away.

All in all, it was a pleasant hike, but I wish I'd had the information to be able to find some of those champion-caliber trees I'd heard about. The weather was actually perfect that day for tramping cross country in otherwise bug-infested and snakey territory.
This was one of the older sinks, filled with larger types of growth. Someday it will be dry land again. (Click to see at full size.)

Video of a quiet stream through the forest.

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