Florida’s Panhandle and First Coast

After delivering some blueberry bushes and music to the Grassroots School, I headed south along 363 for a maiden trip to Florida’s Apalachee Bay.  

A verdant buffer of marsh welcomes travelers to St Marks.

Canals like this tempt fate.  Naturally drawn to the water, I started to walk toward the edge, when the little fight or flight voice reminded me that spots like this are where wayward joggers get eaten by alligators.  Flight won.

This is the largest manatee I’ve ever seen, and it looks like it managed to dive just deep enough to spare its back from a boat’s propeller.

She lumbered along the shallows surfacing now and then for a breath.  A couple kids on bikes said there’s usually an alligator too.  We never met.

Behind the fort, a trail leads to a limestone point, the confluence of the Wakulla and St Marks rivers.

Click here to see a timeline of the area dating back 36 million years.

A swallowtail greeted me on the way back.

For about ten minutes, I stood in one spot as the butterfly flew closer and closer in tightening circles.  The closest it came was a few inches from the camera.  I’m convinced that had I stayed and exercised my patience a little more, it would have landed on me.

After St Marks, a drive east delivers the Atlantic.

Once there, I spent some time with saltwater flora and fauna.

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