Monday, August 6, 2007

Maddogs and Englishmen

As Bill said to me afterwords, "Only maddogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" and yet there I was on Sunday, 95 degrees and relatively high humidity and I'm trekking through the wilderness of the Fakahatchee Strand State Park in search of alligator babies.

The jungle! (click for larger view)

String Lily

The Park is 64, 000 acres of sawgrass prairie and cypress swamps and although the water level is usually high and the mosquitoes offer their daily blood drive, the rains have not come as they usually do and without water, the mosquitoes have no place to lay eggs. So water and bugs aside, the only thing I had to contend with was the heat. My plan was to head up a remote trail in search of a gator hole where mother and pups might be found. The walk would be just over 2 miles, but as I approached the "trailhead", a flock of Black Vultures stood their ground. They were resilient and I was concerned I'd find a rotting feast of some sort, but as I slowly drove on, they scattered and revealed a simple puddle of water.

No sooner had I passed, the flock returned to the road and with my eyes trained ahead on the narrow, pothole riddled road, I spotted what I first thought to be the biggest dog I had ever seen. It stopped in the middle of the road, look towards me and continued on.

It was a Florida Black Bear!

or bigfoot?
As I got closer to the spot where the bear entered the woods, I grabbed my camera and followed, but like a big fuzzy brown ghost, it disappeared without a sound into the thicket.

There are an estimated 400 bears in this part of the state. They have long legs for ease in walking through the swamp. It was amazing to see and surprising considering the heat and time of the day. They may be active at any time of the day, but I figured they would have more sense than a maddog.

No comments:

Post a Comment