Make that "gators and buzzards and pelicans, oh my!"
Our ridiculous March weather combined with the presence of good friends in Sarasota provided the opportunity for a Florida getaway around mid-month. Destination: Myakka River State Park. Temps: mid-70s. Ahhhhhh...sweet warm weather and sunshine! This was an eagerly anticipated benefit of this completely irrational (given my work schedule) yet utterly necessary (given my work schedule) road trip. Not anticipated or expected were the incredible wildlife encounters!
Hiking in Florida is so different from hiking in North Carolina. It's flat and sandy, and the air has a different feel to it...almost as if you can smell the ocean. One day, we hiked into an area called "Deep Hole," which is protected and requires a permit. The rangers issue only a certain number of permits each day. This helps minimize the impact of visitors on both the wildlife and environment.
We had just entered a clearing adjacent to a body of water, when we came upon an armadillo! I understand these critters are as common as squirrels in some parts of the country, but not in western North Carolina. For me, having seen one only once in my life (a fleeting glimpse at that) they remain quite exotic and wondrous. Actually I'm not sure what struck me as more marvelous, the armadillo, or the colorful grasses in which he was feeding. This photo is completely untouched - look at the bright red, green, and yellow grasses!
At first, I crept along... oh-so-quietly...
stealthily pursuing him with my camera.
Until I realized he could care less if I was there.
Then I stopped sneaking.
I was fascinated. An armadillo looks like a creature out of Jurassic Park.
Don't you agree?