The Forest Floor, Covered by Ferns

The Forest Floor, Covered by Ferns

When I received an invitation from the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) to join a guided hike in the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, I quickly reserved a spot! Who could turn down a chance to walk through a preserve with such a delightful name?

Would participants, all graduates of one or more modules of FMNP, be put under a magic spell by our guides, Jay S. Barnhart, Jr., M.D, an expert on mushrooms and native plants and Joannie Faulls, Sanctuary Steward? Or, would we be entranced by nature as we wandered along trails through several different habitats: oak scrub, mesic and hydric hammocks, wet prairie, and pine flatwoods?

Sunday, March 29 dawned with overcast skies and a prediction for rain. Both the rain and I arrived at the Sanctuary in Titusville at the same time. But, FMNP graduates are undaunted by a little rain, and off we went, raingear protecting us from the elements. Drizzle and dark skies seemed only to enhance the potential for spell-casting as we hiked from open sandy sites into lush forest vegetation.

We stopped often to identify species of plants and fungi and learn more about human use of the area, including a tale about the uncompleted Addison Canal. The 1912 plan to drain agricultural land into the Indian River Lagoon was thwarted by an unyielding coquina rock ridge in the Enchanted Forest. Perhaps forest spirits hexed the digging equipment?

How could I capture should lush vegetation on camera? A forest floor blanketed with ferns gave me one opportunity for a shot, but then the forest closed densely around me. Birds darted in and out of trees – only their calls provided identification.

A hickory bud unfurls

A hickory bud unfurls

Switching to macro gave me the opportunity for pictures of different types of fungi, epiphytes, and a newly sprouted hickory tree bud.
Tiny

Tiny Pink Mushrooms

Helping to decay a log

Helping to decay a log

Ah, so this was the spell – the dense forest growth had charmed me into looking at the little things.

Our knowledgeable leaders safely guided us out of the Enchanted Forest after a very enjoyable hike. But was the forest following us as we left? Maybe it is my (active) imagination, but what would YOU say about the final photo? Lyn

Is the forest following us?

Is the forest following us?

2 Responses to “Charmed in the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary”

  1. Steve & Brenda Says:

    We agree. What a great day it was. The rain just made it more interesting. Hikes through the woods are great but are made even better by good company. The Enchanted Forest is one of the most pleasant places I’ve been to. Everyone should visit at least once.

  2. Lyn Says:

    Thanks for your comment! Meeting such interesting and enthusiastic hiking partners made the visit even better, Lyn

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