Fresh air. Not the conditioned stuff we breathe in every day within these concrete walls. The real deal, mixed with the aroma of dried leaves, faint perfumes of wildflowers, smoke from someone clearing land, nature’s composting of soil, leaf mold, decaying plants and rain about to fall. We only had a short time to spend but it was worth it.
We drove a bit south of Bartow, the Polk County (FL) seat. Just off U.S. Highway 98 at Homeland, there is a nice park on either side of the road on the banks of the Peace River. One of the areas has a nice, long boardwalk which takes you through hardwood swamp down to the edge of the river. We didn’t have time to walk its length today and instead visited the area on the south side of the county road called Peace River Landing.
The Peace River has its beginnings in the springs within the Green Swamp, northeast of Lakeland. It’s a “blackwater” river, so called because of its dark color from leaf and plant decay. It flows from Lake Hancock, southeast of Lakeland all the way to Punta Gorda and the Gulf of Mexico. It was named by a Spanish cartographer in the early 1500′s as he wrote on his map: “Rio de la Paz”. The Seminoles called it: “Tallackchopo”, the river of long peas, due to the large number of wild peas along the banks.
We’ll be back to report more on this area in the future. For now, we were happy to have a few moments of “peace” along the dark, slow moving stream where we enjoyed the company of a few feathered friends.
A juvenile Little Blue Heron hunts patiently at the base of a large Bald Cypress tree.
A Northern Mockingbird perched nearby on the lookout for an insect snack.
This Snowy Egret caught a nice bream! In the background, how many young alligators can you count?
The egret decided he didn’t want to share his catch.
As we prepared to leave, a Bald Eagle assured us he would keep the “peace” over the river until we return.
A short trip but it sure felt good to have actual “fresh” air in our lungs!
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!