Tuesday, August 11, 2015

25 April 2015 Crew

There are 44 geocaches in Crew. They are all puzzles, It takes about 14 miles of hiking to cover them all. There are prospects of seeing alligators, snakes, birds, wildflowers, and turtles. If those conditions don't spell a perfect day, how about a warm, dry day in Florida in April? This was so perfect if someone came to me and said you can cache three weekend days each month with about 40 finds in an area with amazing wildlife over a twelve to fifteen mile trail, I would take that offer and never look for a cache the other 300+ days a year. I'm nearly certain that will never happen so I will just accept this as maybe our best geocaching experience ever.

Yes, I'm willing to share the trail with an alligator and promise to respect their space. Please tell me they are here.

The first thing I noticed about Crew was there were people everywhere. They were biking, walking, looking for birds, taking pictures... They were just there enjoying the day. After a short walk on a dirt path, the trail turns into the land holding and follows a boardwalk over a marshy area.

Ali looks like she is dressed for a safari. We were hunting caches today. :)

One of the great things about going somewhere new is everything is new. You can spot the most common plant in the area and be happy to find it since you've never seen it before.

The bee also seemed quite happy these flowers were there.

We were stopping to find caches most of the journey. Our first big area to stop for the wildlife included spotting a yellow-bellied water snake and a number of shore birds. The snake made it clear, I was not a welcome sight and moved away quickly from the camera.

The area was really dry, and we had not spotted any alligators yet so we were starting to wonder if the journey to see the gators would be fruitless. We continued to hit the birding jackpot with a spotting of a great crested flycatcher and the most photogenic hawk we have seen. This hawk was so comfortable in his territory, he was still visible when we returned hours later.

There were a number of white peacock butterflies out today.

Great egrets were shadowing us along the trail, but still no alligators.

Ah, the first sighting at last...

And, our first turtle of the day too.

I never figured out the purpose to the actions of inhinga. They often see barely able to fly and make so much racket finding prey seems out of the question. Whatever they do must work for them, but they do it neither gracefully or with beauty.

Once spotted, there were gators everywhere, including areas where there were clearly young ones being watched by adults.

Once they showed up on the trail, there were a lot of gators. At least they were down the embankment and near the water.

I wish our cache container blended in as well as some of the alligators.

We knew sooner or later we would find one on the trail. t would have been much more reassuring if the first one on the trail was a little bit smaller than this one.

I was happy it let us pass. ;)

Our one less than happy wildlife encounter occurred when I nearly stepped on a cottonmouth. It was waiting for me with its head thrown back.

More Babies

One of this group hissed at us as we went by. It was the only real interaction of the day with the alligators.

We spotted this little blue heron near the end of the loop.

Why stop at spotting one nice hawk when you can see a second one along the trail?

And so ended the images of our outing. Ali counted over 200 alligators spotted. We also saw many, many birds. In terms of finds, t was a personal best geocaching day for us with 43 finds. True to our form, we left one unfound on the trail. It was a special day and a great way to enjoy Florida.

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