Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tibet-Butler Preserve

Taryn and I took a break from our whirlwind tour of the Disney properties last week to go for a short hike in a completely different environment than we're accustomed to in Colorado. I'd originally planned to go to the Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park, but Orlando Parks Examiner Bridget Cohen suggested the Tibet-Butler Preserve as a comparable but much closer option. The 10-minute cab ride beat out the hassles of renting a car, so along with sister-in-law Joanne and her three boys off we went.

The trail had some pretty muddy areas -- one section was completely closed. But some terrific raised wooden walkways kept us up out of the worst of it.

I didn't realize Florida had holly trees, but nonetheless there they were.

Joanne had a great eye for spotting interesting things along the way, like a group of spiderwebs still wet with morning dew.

It wasn't snow this time, but Taryn still found an opportunity to write her name on the path. And all while still wearing the bun from her visit to the "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique" the day before.

The Osprey Overlook trail ended in what I'd hoped to see -- a good old-fashioned swamp complete with lily pads, cypress trees and Spanish moss.

The trees and moss made for a strikingly dense patchwork of muted greens and grays.

Another of Joanne's finds -- a gopher tortoise burrow.

A plant I'd previously never heard of -- beautyberry.

I don't really know what this bird was, but it was kind enough to sit still for a picture.

We were only there for a couple of hours, and spent just 90 minutes on the trails. But it provided the change of pace we were looking for and gave us an enjoyable, if brief, glimpse of Florida's natural beauty.

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