We hiked a new trail for us today. It is in the Apalachicola National Forest with one trailhead being at Trout Pond. The trail is named the G, F & A, for the Georgia, Florida, and Alabama Railroad. Part of the trail follows the old rail bed. Here is a link to a map of the 2.4 mile trail.
We walked it both ways today with friends. We got a late start and it was hot. I was expecting more shade than there was. The yellow flies were only bad around the water, which was a blessing.
We saw a number of interesting critters along the way, including a cow ant (wasp) and another dead insect with extremely long antennae. Neither of these shots turned out.
But this fence lizard had wonderful texture and posed for us on the paved trail. I have read that fire ants have taken their toll on Eastern fence lizards. There is some documentation that some version of evolution on fast-forward is helping these critters survive by learning to twitch their bodies when under attack, which shakes off some ants. Also, their hind legs are getting longer to aid in twitching and running away from fire ants.
We took our time and spent two hours on the five miles. We only saw seven other people on the trail.
When we returned, we had a picnic and then walked down to Trout Pond. We were thinking it has an interesting name, as there are not trout in our waters. Though large mouth bass are sometimes called green trout, they are not in the same family as trout, but sunfish.
The pond was alive with turtles and we saw a few fish. There were several species of birds that were singing.
This month, I have been teaching my kindergartners about swamp things. I taught them about Claude Monet and his passion for painting water lilies and reflections on his pond in his garden at Giverny in France. They each created their own water lily picture with pastels on dark blue paper. I am always so impressed with their products and their enthusiasm.
I think Monet would have liked setting up his easel at Trout Pond.