Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Redbird Creek Trail

Seven miles southeast of the house is Fort McAllister State Park - I've discovered the Redbird Creek Trail there - it's a 3 mile loop trail that takes you out into the salt barrens & marshes (yes, there is a difference I've learned). The trail mainly stays in the piney flatwoods which are only a few feet higher in elevation, and will occasionally take you over the marsh by boardwalk. It is incredibly peaceful here - I've gone each weekday since purchasing our new jogging stroller - I'm falling in love with this ecosystem - it's my dose of zen for the day - only the sound of rustling palmettos.
It is especially lovely this time of year = no biting insects. I jog a little and walk a little. I'm sure in a couple of months I will be jogging the entire length, or otherwise be eaten alive!

My favorite boardwalk overlook into the salt barren - marsh mix.
Salt barrens: When extremely high tides flood the flat, sandy area which exists between the shoreline and the flatwoods, some of the salt water remains in shallow pools at the center of the plain. This water evaporates in the direct sun, leaving very high concentrations of salt on the soil surface, which keeps these areas free of vegetation.

An elevated observation tower gives you a good look over Redbird Creek winding its way thru the marsh land.
Salt marshes are found along low energy coastlines. Green or gold at different times of the year, these marshes are blanketed with grasses like black rush and cordgrass. Tides affect the water levels of the salt marsh and also act to flush out the system. Many fish and shellfish species spend at least part of their life cycle in this very productive habitat.

Saw palmetto is the dominant ground cover.

Sabal palm (or cabbage palm). These palms can tolerate more salt water than other upland trees. They often persist long after oaks, cedar, and pine have died from tidal flooding.

Levi modeling our 'new' jogging stroller - a great Craig's list find - with an extra seat for friends to tag along.

Back at Fort McAllister proper (where we park) - a windy look over the Ogeechee River.

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