By Doug Alderson
With long strands of wiregrass tickling our legs as we hiked through uplands towards Alum Bluff, 19 people enjoyed a Saturday excursion on the Nature Conservancy’s Garden of Eden Trail near Bristol February 17. We learned about the Conservancy’s noble efforts to restore the upland longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem on their lands before we dropped down into shaded steephead ravines.
Violets, yellow jessamine and hog plum were in full bloom while the full spring show was still three or four weeks away. We examined needle palm, anise and rare Florida yew plants in the steepheads and enjoyed the trickling sounds of golden creeks that emerged from seepage springs. Most of the trees were still devoid of leaves, so there was little to obstruct the views in these unique Florida foothills.
Once on Alum Bluff, we enjoyed panoramic views of the Apalachicola River Basin, views that are unparalleled anywhere in Florida. Alum Bluff boasts a sheer 135-foot drop to the river, the largest natural geological exposure of its kind in Florida. Most in our group vowed to return to enjoy different seasons at this biological hotspot. The trail is free and open year-round for day-time use.
Join us on our next Apalachicola basin hike on Saturday, March 3. We’ll be exploring a trail at Torreya State Park. Call or email to reserve your spot. firstname.lastname@example.org 850-653-8936