We took a little car ride this afternoon after having been inside all morning waiting for the sun to warm us up from the 20 degrees we started with. It eventually inched its way up to 50 but with the wind, it was still cold. In the car, though, it was heaven on this sunny day.
We decided to visit Otter Lake, a 100 plus acre lake very near the coast in Wakulla County south of here. It is another part of the St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge, but not connected to the land at the lighthouse, where we often go and so we had not been here in many years. It is officially in the community of Panacea.
We found it much as we remembered and we had it to ourselves. During our visit of about 45 minutes, three cars came down to the dead end and turned around and that was the only souls we saw. It was clean, and though the bathrooms were locked, it showed signs of recent upkeep.
These cypresses showed a water level about five feet higher than the present.
There were signs warning of gators and we saw three, one of which even at a distance we could tell was "good-size."
We drove around to the boat ramp and sat out in the sun for a bit, enjoying the beauty, but disturbing a great blue heron and a great egret, who squawked their annoyance.
As you can see the cypress trees completely surround the lake. We will have to go back in the fall, when they are rusty.
While we were checking out the woodpeckers and migratory songbirds in a swamp near a picnic table, we were surprised by the beating of strong wings as a large bird landed in a pine above us. The eagle had landed! I only managed to get two pictures before it was gone again. Here is the decent one.
Otter Lake is for day use only, but it was free and just maybe two miles from US Highway 98 that runs along the coast--and so easy to find. You otter see it!