Friday, July 16, 2010

Part 2 - The Wild Side of Eureka Springs

Much of this county park has been left in its natural state of hardwood swamp.  There are numerous springs throughout the park which are supplied from the Florida Aquifer.  The springs only flow during the rainy season.  Lucky for me, it's been raining with regularity for the last few weeks. 

Dirt trails lead through many of the areas of this hardwood swamp.  I soon discovered that my flip-flops and short-sleeves were no match for the mud and mosquitoes. 
Fortunately for me, there is a boardwalk of 1600 feet that skirts the edges of this beautful area of natural Florida.

Cycads unfurling their fronds, bromeliads growing up in the tree canopy, and ferns and alocasias covering the boggy bottom created a feeling of being back in time.

The dragonflies were so numerous and large that I could hear them buzzing as they flew by me.

I was the only visitor in this very private world of cypress trees and vines.
Each curve of the boardwalk opened a new vista.  This spring was so clear I could see the sandy bottom.  For some reason the mosquitoes were not bothering me on the boardwalk as they had when I tried the trail. 

Ferns were lighting up tree trunks everywhere I looked. 
This wild side of the park was the most special to me.  I can't wait to go back with proper trail shoes, long sleeves and DEET.  This park is a special gem that I intend to explore more often, perhaps with each change of season. 


  1. Beautiful photos, NanaK! I think I'd like the wild side better as well. Love that butterfly shot!

    P.S. I've missed your visits to my blog. :`(

  2. What a wonderful piece of "old Florida" to spend a day wondering around. I love your 3rd photo (I think) with the huge live oak branch and a sabal palm. That photo really captures the look and feel of Florida that I particularly like. I googled eureka springs but couldn't find directions to it. How do you get there?

  3. A neat way to travel back in time to how Florida must have looked in the past. I am glad that there are preserved areas to enjoy and wish there were more. It is not hard to picture some Timucua Indians from the 1500's walking through your picture of the cypress stand. Cool!

  4. Floridagirl - I was hoping there would be others who would love the natural Florida views at this park. I saw a lot of plants I need to identify. I am heading over to your blog soon, I've been at the beach for a week :)

    Susan - Try this link

    Well, guess you have to copy and paste. Anyway, it's right off I-4 coming into Tampa. Street Address:
    6400 Eureka Springs Rd
    Tampa, Florida 33610

    No attendant or park ranger was there when I went, $2 admission you put in an envelope and then place a sticker on your rearview mirror. So, no plants for sale :(

    sanddune - I happened to be totally alone while there. It really did seem I had walked through a time warp once I entered the "natural" part of the gardens. Just an aside: this park is backed up to the Tampa Executive Airport, a small private field. That's actually why I re-discovered it's existance. From modern transportation to the land before time, it is amazing how the two could be so close.

  5. NanaK,
    Welcome home. Oh, how I love seeing parts of Florida that have been preserved and remind me of my childhood here. Your images are just beautiful. I don't recall ever going to Eureka Springs but your review of it makes me want to add it to my list. All those tropical plants are great to see in their natural setting.

  6. Meems - Hope you get a chance to go there as it is really beautiful.

  7. NanaK, Thank you so much for blogging about Eureka Springs. I had never been but Shirgirl, her Grandson and I took a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon there. Just a beautiful park and love all the native blooming plants. Thanks again Janice


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