Monday, May 2, 2011

Garcon Point, or how to go back in time without trying.

                                                                                  Sarracenia Leucophylla                                                                                                                               

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, between Franklin county in the northern part of Florida, over to Escambia county, the last county in the panhandle of Florida, the greatest concentration of pitcher plants in the world is found. 1.  That's quite a statement. One of those places where white pitcher plant grows is about a twenty minute drive from my home.

The best time to see these pitcher plants is in March to the end of April of each year. Now there are other places to see the plants and I have seen them on the Juniper trail in the Blackwater Forest and in the seepage area of Clear Creek, not far from the entrance to Naval Air Station Whiting Field. I like walking both areas, but they take a while to get to. The trail found in Garcon Point is a favorite to walk. It is quiet in a town noise sense. Birds are everywhere and they are the sound one notices walking the trail. Quiet is such an unusual thing in our lives these days, especially if we live in towns, cities, or suburbs, that one has to adjust to the lack of auditory input. It's when one can think without distraction. Yet, the quiet, albeit for the birds, is almost like sensory overload. 

The area is one of magnificent diversity, with pine flats, the vast savannah of grasses that roll over to shores of  the river and bay and the subtle seepage areas found in such "swamps" or what many consider wastelands. Waste they are not, filtering water, protecting the habitats of many mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Many of these wonderful places have fallen to the builder and the ax. But Garcon point, though it was once very much cut for its great yellow pine and farmed, is surviving despite man's greatest endeavor to make it into something it is not.