March 15, 2023
As spring approaches, native plants start to produce flowers. Don’t delay. Get out there and see their beauty. To find the best place to go, keep an eye on social media as people can’t help but to post their pictures. Follow your local nature parks and preserves on Instagram and Facebook. It will give you an idea of what you will see. Believe me. The pictures don’t do the flowers justice. See them for yourself. I took pictures shown were taken March 1, 2023, at Brooker Creek Preserve in northern Pinellas County.
Once you know where to go, remember to be prepared for your hike. Check the weather and dress for it. If it is sunny, remember to wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen. If rain is possible, carry a rain shell or prepare to be wet. Spring flower season also coincides with tick season. Wear insect repellant and consider treating your clothing with Permethrin which will make them repellant for up to 6 washes.
Consider the trail upon which you will walk. If the terrain is rough or wet, consider wearing shoes or boots made for hiking. Hiking footwear are designed to give you support and many are waterproof. This will keep your feet from getting too abused and will allow you to hike farther.
Consider investing in a good set of binoculars as you may not be able to get close to the flowers or even animals to be seen. Prices for a good pair can range from $190 to $1600. As the price increases, so does the optics which is mostly noticeable in low light conditions (dawn/dusk). Get a harness for the binoculars, if it is not included, rather than using neck strap. Even a light pair can strain your neck after a while of hiking. Binocular harnesses can also be used for DSLR cameras.
Get out there:
Now that you are outfitted, get out on the trail. Walk at a comfortable pace. Take your time. Use your senses to find interesting/cool things along the trail. Listen for animals and use your peripheral vision as things may not show up till you are almost past it.
Once you see a flower, be in the moment and enjoy, but some of us can’t help it. We need to know what it is called. There are guidebooks which are used to identify flowers and animals/birds. Books however are heavy to carry so now there are apps which are handy to identify using the camera on your phone. The one I use is “Seek” by iNaturalist.
As you walk the trails, remember to minimize your impact to the environment by staying on the trails. If you need to step off the trail to either see better or get a picture, be careful where you step to minimize damage to the plants. See the Leave No Trace website for more information on sustainable exploration of the outdoors.
I wish you luck in finding all the beauty there is to find in nature. Remember to stay hydrated as you may find yourself out there for a while. There is always something to see. No matter how small or even common. Our local Florida parks are the true representation of what Florida really is. If you have any questions about outfitting yourself for the trail, let us know at mailto:email@example.com or call 727-576-4169.
Camping Department Manager