After we left our paddling adventure we drove towards the Atlantic ocean and Jonathan Dickinson State Park, home of many camping and hiking adventures over the years. (see photos here). Our first stop was the parking lot up front by the park office and a short walk down what used to be part of the Ocean to Lake segment of the Florida Trail.
Orange blazes turned to bright green blazes??? We were thoroughly confused until we got back to the trailhead and I looked at the paper maps stowed in the map box. Apparently this section of the OTL had been turned into a loop and the main through trail was moved to the north. I asked someone about it later and found out that the state park had wanted to make some sections of the trail multi-use which is against the standards of the Florida Trail, so it was renegotiated to go elsewhere.
The real reason we went down this trail was to check out this paw-paw. Chris had thought it was the four-petal paw-paw, which is endangered. He had wanted to take photos of it if it was the rare plant. Instead it was the common paw-paw, Asimina reticulata and he took photos anyway!
Typical scrub habitat within the park. It was fun to be reminded of plants that I’d sort of pushed to the back of my memory. Chris told me to watch out for the hog plum and I was like ‘Ohhh, yeah, hog plum!’ I’d completely forgotten what fun those are to be stuck by! Chris found a semi-ripe fruit to eat but it wasn’t all that tasty according to him.
False rosemary, Conradina grandiflora, according to the IRC’s plant list for the park.
A few of the pinelands closer towards the Loxahatchee river. We drove the road towards the river slowly and just as we were getting close to the parking lot where we were planning to get out and walk down to the river, the skies opened up and rain poured down. Needless to say our explorations of the park were cut short.
I love this state park, it is one of Florida’s gems. It is huge and most don’t see a lot of the backcountry. If you ever get a chance to check out this park, do it!