Friday, February 09, 2007

Sunrise on the Emerald Coast

Sunrise on Seagrove Beach

My wife has become quite accomplished at taking excellent photographs with the digital camera we recently purchased and has determinedly taken it out each morning for her daily walk at dawn. Again, as many of you may already know, I don't do the dawn's early light very often. To be more exact I NEVER get up that early, so it's great having someone out covering the dawn patrol on the most beautiful stretch of coastline this side of Fiji. I kid you not.

This morning I was asked to download the contents of today's sunrise from the camera and admire one of the most beautiful mornings yet. Well I gotta admit she warn't exageratin' none t'all.

So for today I just wanted to share the beauty which is our home here on the magnificent Emerald Coast of Florida. Enjoy it y'all.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Springs along the Suwannee River

U.S. Highway 27 parallels the scenic Suwannee River for 25 miles through Lafayette County, Florida. We began a detailed reconnaissance of the remarkable springs and state parks that are located along this stretch of river in the small town of Branford. From here we traveled west to Troy Springs and Lafayette Blue Springs State Parks, both of which empty directly into the dark and murky waters of the Suwannee.

Way down upon the Suwannee River

This part of Florida is very laid back and rural. It reminded me a lot of Georgia and Alabama. People in the rest of the country often forget that Florida is indeed located in the heart of the Deep South and as such there is still much of it that looks and feels like a place unaffected by the modern world, much less the close of the Civil War. Everywhere we went in this section we saw people, both black and white, fishing along creeks, hanging out at barbecue shacks and lazing away the end of an era. Yes indeedy, my kind of place.

A beautiful spring in the middle of Branford's city park

The geology of Florida is dominated by a porous limestone layer known as the Floridian Aquifer. It is the main source of water for the springs which bubble to the surface in this part of the state. A large portion of the annual precipitation that falls to the ground is absorbed into this limestone layer and eventually returns to the surface through an elaborate underground network of caves and rivers that are carved through this unique formation. When this subterranean water table intersects with the surface of the land it forms artesian springs. Florida has more of these springs than any other place in the world.

Red-tailed hawk soars over the Suwannee

If you're ever in this part of Florida I highly recommend that you leave the mindless grind of interstate travel and come enjoy this stretch of old U.S. 27. You'll discover the beauty and serenity of a genuine piece of the Old South.
Way down upon de Swanee ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.

The clear waters of Troy Spring empty into the Suwannee

Remains of the Confederate warship Madison in Troy Spring

Suwannee River as seen from the highway bridge in Branford, FL

Late afternoon light filters through the floodplain forest