Monday, June 19, 2006

Kendall's Prairie

So my dad and I finally got the old kayak out yesterday after about a week and a half without paddling. We put in the Intracoastal Waterway at the new boat ramp off of (St. Johns) CR210 where the old drawbridge used to be (there is now a towering 60 foot tall bridge there...but that's another story I'd like to tell). It was such a refreshing day with overcast skies and a couple light rainshowers. We paddled south toward a salt marsh that we knew of (you can see it from the bridge) that looked like a nice paddle through some typical Florida grassland. We took a short pit-stop at a nice little beach (and i do mean little) with black mangroves, prickly-pear cactus, and short yellow wildflowers(do you know what those could be FloridaCracker?). We found signs of some campers there...tent stakes, a piece of mysterious metal, and trash...lots of trash. It's so disgusting that people would camp in such a pristine area and throw trash everywhere. So I picked my way through the plants, throwing water bottles, coke cans, and styrofoam plates into the kayak. Once I got everything picked back up, we sat down onto and into other people's trash and continued south toward our destination. We reached the mouth of a creek that led into the salt marsh and followed it along an easterly to northerly path. The current was surprisingly strong (about 3 MPH) and the submerged grasses bent over like you would expect to see in a mountain stream of spring run. As we looked around, we were amazed by the expansiveness of the grassland around us, and we noticed that parts might actually be a kikeable prairie...something we'll have to look into doing...as soon as we get snake leggings. All that could be seen for miles was grass, punctuated by hardwood hammocks full of sable and cabbage palms and live oaks, along with the omnipresent palmettos and other underbrush. We paddled until the creek got so narrow we couldn't go any further, after which we headed back to the boat ramp, with our memories of what I have since named Kendall's Prairie...named for my dog Kendall...the prairie and marsh were both unnamed on all the maps I looked at, so I decided to do as I always do and give it my own name for future reference. Looking back, there was surprisingly little wildlife...just some egrets, an osprey, and LOTS AND LOTS of jumping mullet and plentiful insects. There was a surprising absense of reptiles, but maybe they were just under cover because it was so cloudy outside...maybe we'll see more on sunny days. Anyway, this trip was 300% more fulfilling than I thought it would be, and I can't wait to go back to that wonderfully quiet and pristine place I call Kendall's Prairie.

Update: I feel like a fool. Alligators don't live in salt water.

3 comments:

Rurality said...

I have definitely seen some alligators living in salt water! They do in south Alabama, anyway, although I think they prefer fresh water.

Hurricane Teen said...

Maybe they were there, but I doubt they lived there. Alligators don't have the salt-extracting glands required to live in salt water for exteneded periods of time...or at least that's what I've always been told...But the recent drought may be driving them to whatever water they can find...even if it is a salt marsh.

Hurricane Teen said...

By the way, rurality, that's a really cute dog.