Florida Day One: Everglades Royal Palm Gumbo-Limbo Trail Hike

Florida Day One: Everglades Royal Palm Gumbo-Limbo Trail Hike

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After exploring the Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitor Center in the Florida Everglades I decided to take a walk  on   the Gumbo-Limbo Trail.

The trail is named after the unique reddish-brown Gumbo-limbo trees that grow here  in the Royal Palm sub-tropical hammock. They are one of my favorite Florida trees. There reddish color contrasts with the deep green of the other trees in the forest. 

In addition to the gumbo-limbo trees there are a number of other hardwood trees, including royal palms, mahogany and banyan trees growing in the higher ground of the hammock. 

Along the trail are many species of ferns. I used my PictureThis plant identification to identify some of them but i am not sure if they are 100% correct. This large fern is a western sword fern.

This  one is  a species of christella fern.

This one is a mash fern.

And this interesting one a fishtail sword fern. 

In addition to the ferns I also saw so many unusual tropical plants and trees. And, with the help of my plant identification app, I could now identify the more interesting ones. This large one is the leaf of papaya tree.

And these leaves are from the cocoplum shrub/tree. Its fruit provides food for the wildlife in the surrounding forest. 

 It was late afternoon when I hiked the trail, it was hot, and the only bird activity I observed were  the  numerous catbirds   that noisily flew overhead as I walked.

And this pretty finch-like bird I have not identified. 

There was also many of these  pretty zebra longwing butterflies  fluttering along the trail. 

There were also some dragonflies darting about along the trail . 

In addition to the ferns, trees, birds and insects I was surprised to find these mushrooms growing in the sub-tropical heat. They appeared to be some sort of polypore  mushroom. 

There is an old road right of way that intersects the gumbo-limbo trails and I followed it out to this pretty lake. The sign said  access to the lake itself is limited to park staff.  On this trail I found more of the same trees, plants and ferns I found on the trail near the Royal Palm hammock.

On my return hike I did encounter one more wild critter, this  great blue heron who wasn’t happy I disturbed his fishing spot.

I returned to the visitor center  and drove back to my hotel. It was now almost  5:30 p.m. My room was now ready. I settled in and drove to the Farm Market restaurant in Florida city for a nice southern dinner of fried catfish, okra and lumpy mashed potatoes, my favorite.  It was a long day of travel, I was up at 3;30 am so i was soon asleep in my room, looking forward to exploring the beautiful Everglades in the morning.  Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike. Florida Day One Everglades Royal Palm Gumbo-limbo hike. March 10 2020.

“I find my soul in forests…”
― Kedar dhepe

 

 

 

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