Monday, June 09, 2008

Primal Pools Part Deux

The rain we received Friday night was only an isolated Thunderstorm that parked over PFHQ for a refreshing shower. I had hoped Devils Hammock received a good dose too, because nothing would get the critters moving like rain after a drought.

Above, the first measurable rain, about one inch, since February.

Let's go take a look in Devil's Hammock.
We're going to walk down into a steeply sided old logging ditch that holds water in it's deepest holes even during a dry spell.
It also holds beaucoup smallish (under 6 feet) gators and one huge one.
Oh, ... and moccasins.
Lots of those, so watch your step.

Well, the rain definitely didn't make it here.

We're down in the deeper part of the ditch now. The sides are steep and cloaked in blackberry briars. This gets a little hairy, because before I clambered down the slope into the ditch bottom, I scanned the gator hole from the top of the road and could not see any sign of the big 'un.
She's around though, see the gator belly slide track heading to the water.

Watch that moccasin under the log ... he sees you even if you don't see him.

Yes, I know you're wondering how FC keeps his sneakers white when he tromps through brush, bramble, and mud.
If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
Try and stay focused, there's a big gator around here and we don't know where she is. That's her slide track bisecting the picture above from left to right.

We're closer now and still no sign of her. She could be off in the thick swamp to our left or soaking on the bottom of that pool.
She might be guarding a nest nearby in that swamp.
I'm not going in there to see if that's true.

It's pretty dim in here under the shade of the willows, so I used a little fill flash for the picture above. It'll help you count the little gators in the pool since some of them have reddish eyes.
Keep looking around while you count the juvies, because we still don't know where the queen is.
I can feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up, can't you?

The juvies are pretty crowded in this pool, but it's the only decent water for some distance, and it's off the beaten path where they can feel secure.

Well, "secure" until the big girl decides she's gotta eat.

Speaking of her, this is getting uncomfortable. There's too much cover around and pretty poor retreat options with the steep briar covered slopes around us.

I can't think of any picture worth getting eaten for ... let's back out of here.

Oh, and watch your step.


Anonymous said...

I know I could get lost for hours down there with all that neat stuff to photo. Up here, not bragging, so far 2 1/4" of rain since last night. Wish I could send it your way, we've had enough for a while.
Bro J

Dani said...

Great posts from yesterday and today. Hopefully some more rain will come and fill up those shrinking water holes.

Susan said...

Just three words... Remember Steve Irwin?

threecollie said...

Glad you didn't get eaten. That is one headline I don't ever want to read and say, "Hey, I know that guy."
Also glad I am seeing this fascinating place from my dining room in upstate NY....just about a comfortable distance from a gator...

Dr. Know said...

Yup, FC, those alligators can be real "water hazards" -- don't mind the divots. Glad you were prudent. Just ask the Jacksonville Police Department how easily a 7 foot 'gator can shred and rip a steel belted radial off its rim -- while still on the cruiser, and in one bite.

As for the shoes, mine aren't worn in until they are spattered with the debris from 20 odd explorations. Only girly-men (which there are an alarmingly growing number of in Dead-Lanta) worry about how white their shoes are while traipsing through a swamp. You're not a girly-man, are you FC? ;-)

roger said...

you do have some dangerous wildlife. i feel safe here in the woods with bears and mountain lions and rattlesnakes, tho i am of course wary. i suppose we're all more comfy with the dangers we grew up with.

robin andrea said...

Snakes and alligators! Yikes. You do like to hang out with a tough crowd.

Floridacracker said...

Bro J,
We should get more this week. I could guarantee that by taking the top off the JEEP, but I think I'll wait and see.

I thought you might like 'em. Pretty snakey.

I do.I try and stay out of big animal's comfort zones.

Me neither!

Cops don't have gator proof tires?

i think that is very true.

Well, I do teach middle school ya' know.

SophieMae said...

Super adventures! Your fish-eating moc pics are outstanding! (Nothing like stating the obvious, eh?) I've pointed and shot within spitting distance of the gator young'uns, but the the zoom is just fine for those big gals. Wise move backing out at that point.

It rained north of us yesterday. *sigh*

Floridacracker said...

Rained south of you too. We got another short thunderstorm yesterday.
Glad you liked the scaley shots!

ImagineMel said...

ew...yet, again. Cupcakes are dark chocolate with "Mexican hot chocolate" frosting. Mmm mmm good!

Anonymous said...


I love looking at your pictures!! My heart was starting to race looking for the eyes. Remember when the prairie flooded? I took my niece to the overlook and on the way back to the car there was a gator checking everyone out. I almost threw her on top of the car! It was strange to cross the prairie and see the gators sunning themselves on 441. Enjoy your summer!


bluebird of paradise said...

Thanks for the excursion into the Florida wilds. Wish I could reciprocate with a trip in the north woods, where we likely would run into lots of moose and perhaps a black bear.

Floridacracker said...

Dang! Is mine in the mail?

I do remember that wonderful wet year. My pond rejoiced.

Sounds wonderful. No moose here, but black bear are around ... not that I've ever seen a wild Florida bear.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You've got more guts than I have, Gunga Din.

Miz S said...

Wow, I feel like I just went on a nature walk with you. Not that I would have gone with you. I would have stayed at the house and made cupcakes.

Joe said...

I can handle the gators and other critters; however I do NOT want to run across a Moccasin! I have always read that they are nasty and unpredictable that will attack you with no warning!

Freste said...

Yep. I think I'd be more cautious on your hike than this one. Both look fun though.

Floridacracker said...

But I am very motivated to keep them inside of me.

Miz S,
That was the idea, so thanks!
Chocolate cupcakes please.

Well, I'm trying to dispel that myth. None of these three were the least bit aggressive. I couldn't get the under the log one to strike even when I prodded him.

Caution (a little anyway) is good.

Sharon said...

Yeah, the hair on my neck was standing up from the first moccasin sighting. But you probably knew that :) I love the baby gator pic.

Rurality said...

Glad you got some rain. We were getting good rain here all spring... right up until I started bragging about what good rain we were getting. At which point it promptly stopped.

Floridacracker said...

Mission accomplished.
:) Those 2 babies are about 4 feet long.

You don't know much about meteorology do ya'?
You never, ever, brag about your weather conditions unless you want the opposite weather conditions to occur the next day.
I thought you were a nerdy engineer type and would be more up on these things.

Joe said...

I will keep my distance from this specimen of the pit viper family, as I have watched one too many episodes on snakes that have discussed how aggressive they can be! The specimen that was being relaxed may have recently eaten and were in their lounging, digestive stance. I do enjoy your shots and would probably try to snap one from a safe distance.

lesle said... out for that moccasin under the log....

Heck, FC, I'm still trying to find that hummingbird!

Floridacracker said...

The will often stand their ground.

Too funny!

camryn said...

hello this is camryn from n.c.............

My mom and I love your posts, we read them every day.

when you get a chance come check out my moms!!

thank you,& keep your work up.

Floridacracker said...

I will drop by your Mom's blog and thank you for commenting here!