Spring break camping trip to Watts Bar Lake with our youngest. The chilly weather made sitting around a campfire perfect (those Boy Scout skills really paid off!).
We had a great time cooking out and hiking the "Top of the World" trail but time flew by too fast and it was time for him to go back to school. So thankful for the wonderful time we got to spend together.
The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is located in Fort Myers, Florida. I had to look up the definition of slough which is prounounced "slew" and found that it is "a place of deep mud or mire." That sounds like fun! OK, let's go!
The slough has over 2.5 miles of boardwalk.
This is a Southern Florida Yellow Rat Snake. Totally freaked out by how long this snake was. You can see its tail down in the lower right corner of the picture. I hate snakes.
We found just one alligator in the slough. One was enough :-)
Cypress knees are protrusions from the roots of a cypress tree.
If you look closely, you'll see a turtle just hanging out.
Red bromeliads growing attached to the tree trunk.
We stood on the boardwalk for quite a while watching the feral pigs. Feral pigs are actually a big nuisance in the slough. National Geographic wrote about the problem back in 2006 stating that during flooding season in the slough, the feral pigs seek drier ground in nearby neighborhoods. Definitely not good news for nearby homeowners since the pigs can destroy a lawn by rooting resulting in potentially thousands of dollars of damage.
White Ibises wading in the shallow water.
One of my son's favorite hikes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is White Oak Sink. This is one of the lesser-known trails in the park and originates off the Schoolhouse Gap Trail on Laurel Creek Road in Townsend. The entire hike is relatively easy and short at approximately two miles.
White Oak Sink is especially beautiful in early spring when the ground is covered in blue phlox making is look like a fairyland. But even on this cold New Year's Day in the middle of winter with no wildflowers, the hike to the waterfall at the end of the trail is still rewarding and stays on our favorite list.