Saturday, March 28, 2015


A web search for the above name for this popular Florida attraction will take you to a page where it trumpets itself as a thrill pack of adventures in zip-lining, horseback riding and motorized coach rides.  Ho hum.

But, believe me it is all of that and more.  A lot more!

On our visit we did the "motorized coach" attraction and promptly encountered horses enjoying rainy-day pastures of immense freedom; horses that were the direct descendants of their Spanish ancestors from the state's colonial period and before.

We intruded on mama alligator and three of her offspring (red arrows).  See the yellow vertical stripes.  They were very much in their wild habitat.  We humans were properly confined to an elevated platform on a smooth-running but clunky looking swamp-type vehicle being piloted by an extremely knowledgeable and just as friendly lady naturalist, Leslie (right).
We chugged our way, bouncing merrily over rutted tracks winding through thousands of acres of pristine natural habitat known as the Allan Broussard Conservancy.  

"The mission of the conservancy is to preserve and protect the fragile eco-systems of Florida's native wilderness to provide a permanent protective habitat for wildlife, to maintain the historical ranching operation and to educate the public about the importance of conservation and the preservation of our unique ranching heritage."  
We rambled through hundreds and hundreds of acres of active ranch land then crossed a magical divide into a wilderness of 3,200 acres of undisturbed natural ecosystems: longleaf pine, wiregrass and palmetto flatwoods, slash pine and sable palm flatwoods, dry and wet prairies, scrub cypress domes, a variety of hammocks, a blackwater creek and sloughs.

We enjoyed seeing this whitetailed deer lounging in her piece of tranquility.

We enjoyed the exquisite horsemanship demonstrated by this very patient equine while the rider cracked her whip so intensely its tip broke the sound barrier and left the cloud of vapor in the foreground of her head.

We disembarked from our jitney and wandered into our own sense of Nirvana via a hammock with indescribable, natural solitude.  Where Leslie...

...put scholarly meaning to the raw beauty of Florida Forever.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Please stop by Saturday and see this young equine lady who was then suffering a "bad" hair day.  She is part of our story on Florida Forever, a terrific attraction near Orlando which carries the meaning of tourist "attraction" to an entirely new level.

Please enjoy our account of a 4,700 acre facility which has the mission of preserving the native, natural, unblemished eco-system that we know as the state of Florida; where I learned a reddish colored lichen is evidence of air quality of the highest order.
...where, while we didn't see any, the elusive Florida Panther, roams a range his ancestors from antiquity would recognize with enthusiasm. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I saw an automobile recently with Ohio antique auto license plates.  It qualified for that lofty status by being more than 25 years old.

I soon will be 75 years old.

Wondering, by Ohio BMV standards, what that makes me?

Friday, March 6, 2015


The Grassy Waters Preserve near West Palm Beach, FL is the setting for the first picture above.  We were in the process of logging an Earth (Geo) Cache there in the company of Brad and Wendy Smart from the Syracuse, NY area.  Sue is in the yellow Capris (left), and Wendy's hubby is pondering a lunker Largemouth Bass in the background.  The Smarts winter in VB and are potential geocaching enthusiasts.

The pier at Venice, FL is the setting for the second photo.  That's Sue on the left and long-time friend Pat Haas, now of Punta Gorda, FL looking for fossils and shark's teeth in this shelling hot-bed on the Gulf coast side of the state.

Note the apparent difference in water color; rich blue's to the left and right with a green hue dominating under the pier; all in the same body of water.  Naturally all that water is the same color but the blue is perceived as a reflection of the sky while the pier is blocking the water's view of the sky.  Obviously things are not always as they appear.

We wrapped up this evening with dinner on the rooftop of Punta Gorda's downtown Wyvern Hotel.  This is a view northbound along US 41.  Southbound this highway rumbles through Ft. Myers then swings East to Miami enjoying the name Tamiami Trail as it sluices across the Everglades.

We also welcomed Pat to the ranks of Geocaching this day.  She participated in finding 2 conventional caches and two Earthcaches on her inaugural outing.

For you photo enthusiasts, all three of these pictures were done with a *Gasp* cellphone.