Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Mighty Apalachicola River
Click image to see larger view, then Back to return to Blog. Enjoy...
On this full-moon-Halloween weekend, John Moran (http://www.johnmoranphoto.com/) and I headed to Apalachicola to explore some of the namesake River's tributaries, creeks and coastal marshes. Locally renowned photographer, John Sporher (http://www.forgottencoastoutdoors.com/) and his wife, Helen had offered us their delightful screen house on Scipio Creek for our sleeping comfort and base camp. Long docks into the marsh and big sky views just a minute's walk from the house offered some lovely sunrises.
Over the next few days, besides Scipio, we visited Cash Creek, Doyle Creek, Ft. Gadsden, Owl Creek, and Cesar Creek - paddling, boating, hiking and/or viewing from bridges, banks and even rooftops.
Cash Creek offered a gorgeous vista of the marsh, as well as beautiful flatwoods and meadows full of Deertongue and Goldenrod. A small green treefrog called one of these meadows home. We returned to Cash Creek three times - mid-morning, just before sunset, and another day at sunrise. That last time, following John Sporher's lead, we were there well before dawn to shoot the setting full moon and rising mist.
The Tate's Hell State Forest, Ralph G. Kendrick Dwarf Cypress Boardwalk provided a birdseye view of the dwarf cypress forest at peak fall color. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, taking in the magical light and color on the red, yellow, and green cypress needles and lilypads.
Further north upriver, we hiked the Nature Conservancy's Garden of Eden Trail through the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve. The plan was to be there at sunset - a challenge given that it's a rigorous 4 miles through slope forests, steepheads, and sandhills to Alum Bluff, the largest natural geological exposure in Florida.... and then the same rigor and distance out AFTER sunset. We considered backing out given the skyful of clouds, but we were at the trailhead and had always wanted to see this trail and bluff. The Alum Bluff and riverview were amazing even in the gray evening light. But then the sun broke beneath the cloud layer and shone red-orange across the land... mere moments before dropping below the horizon and fading to dusk. Wow. We were ready. (Well, almost... I had forgotten to bring an extra memory card and was down to too few shots on the one in my camera. Thanks for the loan, John.) We hightailed it out of there, hoping to be able to see the trail blazes and find our way out before it got too dark. I was glad to have my hiking poles. Here's the one shot.