A second walk today.

(near St. Augustine, Fla.)

My hubby, Steve,  and I took about a mile-long hike (and a several mile ride in our Jeep – nicknamed Mango) through Faver-Dykes State Park near St. Augustine, Fla. Despite a pretty steady drizzle, we saw some beautiful flora and fauna, which I happily snapped up with my camera. So startled was I by the appearance of a young deer in front of our vehicle and a hawk swooping down from overhead, I never captured them with the camera.

Faver-Dyches State Park, near St. Augustine, Fla.

Faver-Dykes State Park, near St. Augustine, Fla.

  Drat! Drat! I would love to have captured those beauties forever.

  There was a sign reminding us to “Take Nothing But Pictures, Leave Nothing But Footprints”. I always thought that was a quote from John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club), but I can’t find anything that would confirm that. The closest I found was this:

Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.
~Motto of the Baltimore Grotto, a caving society

  Hmmm. Who knew?

  There was evidence that there had been a recent controlled burn in the park. Many of the trees were charred, or dusted with black and new sprouts had begun to dart their heads through the darkened bark. The green of the new growth contrasted beautifully with the charred remains of older trees.

Faver-Dyches State Park, near St. Augustine, Fla.

Faver-Dykes State Park, near St. Augustine, Fla.

  In an “accidental-on purpose” move, we took the Jeep offroad down an unmarked trail. Just to test her out, you understand.

  Mango performed beautifully, but when we reached a point where a muddy unmarked road gave way to a soggy field, we turned back and opted for the more civilized path, jarringly rough though it may have been.

Sometimes the road less taken yields something more interesting and we’re working on being more comfortable off the beaten path. In a few months, we are planning a trip through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama where we intend to backpack and take the public bus to many places we would never see from the tourist path. Following in the footsteps of other visitors won’t take us to the best places to learn about our destination, so we’ll have to strike out on our own.

  Probably the strangest thing we saw all day wasn’t in the park, but on the road leading in. At the kitchy 1950’s era tourist stop 300 yards from I-95’s exit 298 (at the corner of Faver-Dykes Road) was a sign on a cart piled high with faux oranges and lemons advertising Gator Jerky. Tastes like Chicken Jerky, I suppose.