St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Florida, National Parks, St Mark's River NWR, States

Returning home from Port of Tampa, we opted for a two night stay in Tallahassee to visit with Amanda and Mallory. They welcomed us Sunday evening for a lovely backyard dinner and delightful conversation. Then on Monday Amanda met us at our hotel and we piled into her red F-150 for an excursion into St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, a delightful preserve on the Gulf Coast just south of Tallahassee, but a world away. It’s one of her favorite excursions to immerse herself into the real Florida. It’s where you can imagine what life was like in Florida a hundred or more years ago. We drove south through the park to a hiking path that’s a favorite of hers. We lingered for a while carefully watching alligators basking in the sun and discussing the strategies for evading them if they approached. Would running in a zigzag be a good plan? We were fascinated when one of the gators on the near bank began swimming toward one on the far bank. Since it’s mating season we hoped to see some amorous activity but had to settle for an online video. From there we hiked out along the edge of the St Mark’s River Estuary noting the many alligator paths but also other flora and fauna big and small, then visited the lighthouse, the visitors center, and Newport Park – the campground across the road from the refuge before heading back into town for a great burger at Mid-Town Caboose.

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