Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Monday, February 04, 2013

Prairie Dust

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park,  Okeechobee, Florida  (high 74, low 46)

 

As we’re winding down our stay on the prairie, we’re  trying to hike some trails we haven’t done before.  This preserve is so large, you have to drive to the hiking trails, or be worn out before you get there! We drove the truck about 5 miles up to the East Military Trail.

On the way to trail, I was able to capture an unusual picture of a Caracara in a tree. 

Crested Caracara in tree

We only did about 3 miles on the trail.  It was a beautiful day but we didn’t see much of interest, so we didn’t go all the way.

These palm trees are very common on the prairie.

palms on prairie

We saw several varieties of flowers.

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I did take a few photos to try and capture how vast this area is.  It looks so different in person, but I have not been able to quite capture it on a photo.  A better photographer could.  I have been trying out the free Windows Photo Gallery program, and discovered they have an easy way to stitch photos together to make a panoramic photo. 

IMG_8072 Stitch

I’ll have to work on getting some better photos to make a panoramic photo, now that I’ve discovered this easy program.  The reason I looked at the Windows Photo Gallery is because for some reason when I try to download photos from Picasa, my videos won’t upload.  They do fine on Windows Photo Gallery.  I’m sure there is a good reason, but I have not found it.  Yes, I have gone to “options”, and selected all the file types available.

There were quite a few horses here in the equestrian camp this week-end.  This is a wonderful place to ride.  I wish I had a horse to explore all these trails.  No way can we do all them on foot.

A group went on a night ride Saturday night and then they were back out there Sunday morning.

This is the view from our window.  We love our view here.

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When we leave here, we will have a very big job removing all the prairie dust and sand from in and out of  both the truck and the motorhome.   The main road into the campground is crushed limestone, and it gets pretty dusty as you can tell by our truck.  The trails are all sandy, so there is plenty of dirt to go around.  I’ll be vacuuming for weeks probably.

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Yesterday late afternoon, we decided to take a walk up the campground road.  We find we always see more wildlife on the road than the trails.  This was no exception.

The deer aren’t skittish, but don’t appear to have been hand fed.

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We stopped and were talking to one of the many campground hosts, when Ranger Jen drove up on the swamp buggy.  She offered us a ride back to our campsite.  We jumped on the chance to ride the swamp buggy.  She took us on a little tour and pointed out some Penny Royal plants that were just starting to bloom.  Thanks Jen!  We’re available anytime!

Jen is a wealth of knowledge so we took the opportunity to pick her brain a bit.  She told us about the hog hunters in the park. They come every week-end.  I believe they are Indian.  They  bring horses and dogs.  The dogs find the hogs and then from horseback, they lasso them and take them to market.  I really hate killing any animal, but the terrible damage they do, makes it necessary to preserve the prairie.  Four wild hogs can destroy an acre of ground in one night. Jen told us that in December they removed 70+ hogs and 50+ in January. 

You sure get a great view from high up on the buggy.

These deer didn’t seem concerned at all.

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After Jen dropped us off, it was time for our evening drive up the road.   Sunset was beautiful but nothing out of the ordinary, so I didn’t take any pictures for a change.   We had to get back so that Al could watch the Super Bowl.

I did get a rare photo of two Caracara sitting on fence posts.

two Cararara

I tried to capture this guy flying off, but with my slow shutter, I only got…..

 

the end

Caracare the end

8 comments:

  1. I really like your pictures of the Caracara birds, even the end. I even like the name, wonder how someone came up with it.

    Caracara sounds like the name of a dance they do at wedding receptions when everybody is well lubricated... ;c)

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  2. I will sure miss the prairie when you leave. I have enjoyed all your posts from there!

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  3. Great photos! We'll be back for the buggy ride!

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  4. We always see more wildlife driving on the roads than we do hiking too. Glad I don't have to hunt for my food, I'd probably starve!

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  5. Glad to hear about the on going hog removal and their great success. Hope they pay the hunters for their trouble. Lucky you with the impromptu buggy ride.

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