Florida Day Five: An Afternoon Hike In The Familiar Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock State Park

Florida Day Five: An Afternoon Hike In The Familiar Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock State Park

Florida Day 5 Key Largo hike (14 of 45)
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When I arrived at my hotel in Key Largo on Sunday  I didn’t stay very long on  my recent trip to South Florida. .   It was a beautiful day, and I planned to relax more on this  trip to Florida.   But  I was so close to another one of my favorite hiking trails, in  the Dagny Johnson Key Largo State Park  I had to go and explore. It was late afternoon and it was still  sunny and hot when I arrived at the park.

This  park is the result of a failed real estate development in the 1970’s. Local conservationists preserved the land in the failed development and created this wonderful State Park. The park contains one of the largest West Indian tropical hardwood hammocks  in the United States. I have posted many blogs with more history which can be found using the search tool in my blog posts.

As I thought, there  wasn’t much wildlife or bird activity in the afternoon heat, except for the lizards.  There were dozens of lizards scampering   on the floor of the forest along the trail. Most were invasive brown anole lizards ,

this  male was  displaying its dewlap, hoping to catch the attention of a female nearby.

I also  saw a few northern curly tailed lizards

And there were many golden silk orb weaver spiders  on their webs along the trail.

There were also a few dragonflies active in the afternoon heat, this is an eastern  pond hawk,

 this a Halloween pennant dragonfly and ,

this a Needham’s skimmer dragonfly. .

I followed the trail along an  old canal that was built for the development. I used to see herons, egrets and ibis in the canal. They may still be there but the  vegetation has grown along the canal hiding it from the trail.  The trail led to a primitive campsite for kayakers along the bay.

As usual I saw double-breasted cormorants perched on the piers on an inlet  to the bay.

I love the color of their eyes.

I followed the trail back an area where both black mangrove and

white mangrove trees grow  here  where they thrive in the salty soils and waters  near the ocean. 

There were some wildflowers blooming here including sea purslane flowers,

sea ox-eye flowers, and

this faded morning glory flower.

There were also many of these seed pods on  the invasive Manila tamarind trees growing along the trail.

I was going to follow the long loop trail that takes one through the largest hardwood trees of the hammock However, a sign  indicated the trail was flooded.

I had to find out for myself and I discovered it was.

I  often see American white ibis in these wetlands. The only critters I saw on this hot late afternoon  in the mangroves were  this tiny fiddler crab.

and some palm warblers.

I turned around and followed the middle trail  through the hardwood hammock back toward the entrance. I saw the first other people in the park, a family enjoying the beauty of nature on a hot afternoon.

I only saw a few more critters too, this shy white eyed vireo,

and another northern curly tailed lizard, also shy and scampering away,  so I only got a photo of his head,

and curled tail. 

I finished my almost 3 mile hike. I was hoping, even in the afternoon heat to see more wildlife , but,  one never knows what will find when one walks in the woods either here in Florida or back home in Pennsylvania. I just enjoy being outdoors and looking with my eyes peeled. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my afternoon hike. Florida Day Five. Key Largo Dagny-Johnson Harwood Hammock State Park March 24 2024.

It was now approaching evening and I was hungry. I had walked over nine miles. So I stopped at the Num-Thai & Sushi Bar Restaurant, one of my favorites in Key Largo. I  had a delicious meal starting with a ginger salad,

a main course of curry seafood,

and their delicious key lime pie for dessert. It was another great day in southern Florida, but a long one. I was tired and again, after editing photos retired early. looking forward to again exploring the beauty of Nature in Florida in the morning

“You must go on adventures to find out where you belong.”-Sue Fitzmaurice


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