Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trails & Open Spaces III - Apoxee Wilderness Preserve

Apoxee -pronounced 'Ah-po-ee' - means Tomorrow in the Native American Indian dialect of the  Miccosukee tribe.

Info Sign

This enormous preserve has over 16 miles of connecting trails, and is another water catchment area for the City of West Palm Beach.

Boardwalk entrance
To say that this is a rugged and wild park would be putting it mildly.

Apoxee is a vast, open wilderness of parched wetlands and narrow, winding paths, which are knotted with low hanging branches and tree roots.  At times we had to walk in single file. The foliage is almost eye-popping green and very lush and healthy.

Huge mature pines tower above the trails, bringing welcome shade for hikers. We stayed on the 2.6 mile trail as we only had a bottle of water each, and they were both empty within half an hour of walking.

It was very quiet in here. The birds must have been taking a noon-time nap or something, the only wildlife we heard was rustling in the thick undergrowth. Although there were a few cars in the parking lot there was no-one to be seen for a while. 

Then we came across a very friendly police officer patrolling the park on an ATV.

Soon the under canopy trail opened up to a huge boardwalk which traversed the mudflats. 

Look for critter prints!
Here in Florida we are having the worst drought conditions in 80 years. If you look at the sign at the top of this blog you will see that this is supposed to be a wetlands wilderness. The mud is baked and cracked and full of critter prints. If you look closely you can see Raccoon prints - bottom right - and a large bird - center.

Very beautiful and desolate.

After a while the boardwalk ends at water, which was very pretty and a welcome sight after all the parched vistas.

Heading back along the trail I was glad we had taken note of the trail markers along the way. With the traffic noise completed buffered by the trees, and very little in the way of scenery changes it would be very easy to get turned around in here and walking away from the parking lot instead of towards it.

Sure enough we came upon a lost family!

I shall return to this preserve in a few months, when hopefully our tropical rainy season will bring life back to the wetlands and completely and dramatically change the scenery and views from the boardwalk. I plan to do a "Before" and "After" blog for comparison.

Coming soon...... "Trails & Open Spaces IV - MacArthur Beach State Park."

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