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Our third stop along the Suwannee was at Manatee Springs, which you may guess was also flooded.  At Manatee Springs, however, enjoyment of the park wasn’t diminished by the brown water.  Since I can rarely take too much excitement all in one place, and since the boardwalk wasn’t flooded, Manatee Springs was a perfect end to our three-park adventure.

I’m a fan of boardwalks because, assuming they are in good repair, I can see what is ahead of me.  Unlike on a trail, where I hesitate at kicking up dead leaves, I can walk forward on a boardwalk without worrying about rustling up a rattler.  Go ahead and laugh.  I’m an indoor, big-city girl who only recently bought a pair of hiking boots.  Before this purchase, I ventured local parks in platform sandals.  If we happen to be in the same park at the same time, you can recognize me by means of my red lipstick.  This I will not give up.

After walking from the parking lot to the springs, I insisted on heading straight for the boardwalk.  A boardwalk is to me what The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is to other people–a thrill ride (or in my case, walk).  I’ve taken a liking to the height (minimal) over the water, and I have also developed an affinity for photographing stumps.  I feel quite in my element standing above–and not at foot level with–snakes.

As soon as we got onto the boardwalk, I noticed what I took to be multiple nests in bare winter trees.  I was just about to point out these nests to my companion when I realized that the nests were vultures.  Although this saved me from making a stupid and ornithologically illiterate observation, my companion recalled an afternoon at Newnan’s Lake where I refused to continue down a trail to the water because there were turkey hawks swooping down around our heads.

The boardwalk at Manatee Springs starts at the spring run and continues to the Suwannee itself, where it ends in a fishing platform and, on this day, a group of vultures circling overhead.

Since my distance vision is worse than the zoom on my camera, you can see why I mistook these vultures for nests.  Further confusing the issue were what I will unscientifically refer to as “puffs” in the trees, which I also confused with nests.

Although it’s been unusually cold this winter, there was this glorious hint of color on an otherwise bare tree.  I have no idea what this tree is, and if I were to attempt to identify it my next post would be in August.  Or I could have asked a ranger, but as you will learn tomorrow, I am not sure the rangers at Manatee Springs can be trusted to provide correct information.

Whatever it is, it makes for a more emphatic photo than my usual studies of brown roots and trees.

And it made for this beautiful reflection in the water!

Do you ever wonder why trees grow the way they do?  So do I.  This was a rather quirky example.

STUMPED!

Tomorrow:  Day Two at Manatee Springs, Or Don’t Pick Up Snakes You Cannot Identify

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