I am continually amazed by the beauty of Florida once you get off the interstate and get on small roads. Even better, once you get off the pavement.
Lenny and I continued our exploration of Canaveral National Seashore by checking out Seminole Rest. It consists of a large mound of shells, dating back to 2000 BC. Unlike most of the shell mounds, the owners of this property refused to sell the shells for road building. Instead they built two houses on the mound, one for themselves and one for a caretaker. Today, you can take a short walk to the Intercoastal Waterway and around to see the two historic houses saved by the Park Service. The picture above is of a scene on this walk of live oak trees, smothered by spanish moss.
The National Seashore abuts Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. We checked out the manatee observation deck. Sure enough, a couple of manatees were lounging in the lagoon. They came to the surface just long enough to take their next breath but did not show much of their bodies, so no pictures.
The other major attraction in the refuge is the Black Point Wildlife Drive, a 7-mile drive through an amazing wildlife viewing area. This is one of best places to see all the birds of Florida, from sparrows to roseate spoonbills. The latter are large shore birds, with pink punky stripes on their white bodies. We took the drive slowly and Lenny kept checking the birds in our Peterson bird guide. While we were driving around, we learned that the refuge offers a guided birding trip with an expert volunteer birder. Maybe next time.
The one-way road attracts serious birders with serious scopes on tripods. We have good binoculars but they just can’t compete with the professional equipment. Even so, we identified over 30 bird species. We’re sure that there are many more.
We didn’t leave enough time for the drive. By the time we got to the 5-mile loop trail, it was time to go to the visitor center and hit the road south to Miami. I had to remember the purpose of the trip to Florida–to see Lenny’s mom.
Am I ready for the noise, pollution and crowds of the city?