The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Apalachicola National Forest in 2010

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Wildlife abounds
For our lodging while we stayed in the Apalachicola area, Beth had arranged for us to stay at the lovely lodge at Wakulla Springs State Park. The expense of this luxury was in stark contrast with my usual strategy when on a plant adventure, but I will admit that the lodge was absolutely wonderful. A historic building, the lodge was finished in 1937, and each room is fitted with antique furniture. The food is excellent, too.

Wakulla Springs is spectacular. On average, about 1 billion liters of water emerge from the spring every day. Historically, the water was crystal clear, but the degraded hydrology of the area has resulted in the water clouding somewhat. Even so, the water still has a visibility of about 30 meters. Bones of Pleistocene mammals have been pulled from the spring, including American mastodon, saber-toothed tiger, and short-faced bear.

Wakulla Springs is also famous for the films made there, including Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

Every morning, before heading into the field, we would start the day by taking a boat tour on the river. The rangers were, in general, quite knowledgeable about the abundant wildlife, and the views were spectacular. Beth was pleased, and took hundreds of photographs every trip.

We did some snorkeling in the swimming area---yes, alligators were common in the springs, but lifeguards were on hand to shush away any that might become too inquisitive about all the splashing. I am not joking.

During one morning tour, we even had very close views of four manatees---one of which was a calf (see photo, above).

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Revised: June 2010
©Barry Rice, 2005