Some friends and I recently spent a weekend up in St. Sebastian River, a nature preserve in Central Florida. Here are some grossly overdue photos!
The preserve is a huge square of minimally improved original Florida outback — a flat mix of forests, palm frond bushes and dry fields. The camping is primitive (hike everything in, hike everything out), and sparse enough that you rarely run into other people after checking in at the ranger station.
The river itself is not particularly scenic. Made canal-straight by the Army corps of engineers or something and adorned with a water regulating lock, it cuts through the park, neatly dividing it in two. The access road runs along the river, and the locals come out on the weekend to barbecue but don’t venture into the park itself.
There’s a stark beauty to the whole place, but it’s adorned with unusual plants, natural formation, and occasional signs of life.
Here’s a toad peeking through the dry sand.
In the deeper parts of the forest, peculiar root formations stick out of the ground.
Dried trees and shrubbery.
The moon comes out at night, and it’s easy to walk around. We heard the sounds of boars occasionally during the day, but they left us alone at night.
And relaxing by the fire. While campfires are permitted in designated areas, gathering firewood is not, so you need to bring your own.
A mist settles on everything overnight, and the early morning is serene and otherworldly, until the sun cuts through the treeline and everything returns to the hot Florida self you know so well.
Signs of fire are everywhere — this ecosystem of course renews itself by burning every few years.
An armadillo butt.