We’re back on the Florida National Scenic Trail, this time on a new section along the Choctawhatchee River. Thanks to the Choctawhatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association for helping us out, and to Bruce Varner and Caroling Geary (of Wholeo.net) for providing photos and video of trail construction.
Tallahassee’s Hot Tamale composed some new music for this video. Thanks again Craig and Adrian for all you do for us!
Our hike by the Choctawhatchee River brims with newness. It’s not just that we get to hike a recently completed section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. That is, of course, pretty cool. That new trail takes us through recently burned forest, the beginning of a cycle of renewal in the longleaf ecosystem. Also, we’re passing through the Nokuse Plantation, where a massive restoration project is making the forest new again. It’s a nice coming together of environmental and recreational upgrades in Walton County.
We’re in the Apalachicola National Forest with Dr. Bruce Means and the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Bruce is considered a leading expert on this misunderstood species, and has written the definitive book on the rattler, called Diamonds in the Rough. Through its life Bruce has a lot to show us about the longleaf ecosystem.
Music in the segment was provided by Don Juan and the Sonic Rangers. You can see “Don Juan” Fortner with the Smooth Sailing Jazz duo, and with the Mary and Aaron Band.
At one point in the video above, Bruce Means, his arm in a stump hole, begins to scream. Then, he turns to the camera and laughs. “I love to do that with groups,” he chuckles. He’s showing us a favorite hiding place of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Using a little bit of theater- and citing decades of research- he’s turning an unremarkable burnt out stump into a dynamic refuge within the longleaf pine forest. Continue reading →