The name Red Hills is perhaps underused by those of us who actually live here. That’s why the folks at Tall Timbers set out to reintroduce us to the area between the Ochlockonee and Aucilla Rivers, from Thomasville to Tallahassee to Monticello. In defining this eco-region and the benefits we receive from living here, I gained a new perspective on our longer running exploration of the Forgotten Coast and its own gifts and uniqueness. I’ve often written about miles of unspoiled coastline and how that benefits our seafood industry. But any large healthy tree has an equally large root system that we don’t see, and for our estuaries these are miles of unspoiled river banks, sloughs, springs, and lakes. In our last EcoAdventure we hiked along sloughs in the backlands of the Apalachicola River floodplain, little fingers reaching into the nutrient rich muck to send it on its way to the bay. In the video above, we visit the lakes of north Leon County, through which water enters the Floridan Aquifer. This is our water, the water I’m drinking as I write this. It’s the water that feeds our springs, such as those that in turn feed the Wacissa River. That water emerges from Wakulla Springs, which flows into the Wakulla River and down to Apalachee Bay. Continue reading
Rob Diaz de Villegas WFSU-TV
I fell in love with the idea the first time I heard of it, this walk along the land surrounding the Apalachicola River. I was standing on a sandbar just north of Alum Bluff. After a day of kayaking the river, we set up camp and got to socializing. Doug Alderson told me of this thought of his, a hike taking about seven days, from the top of the river to the bottom. You can see how the river changes as you paddle, from tall bluffs in the north on down to the marshy delta. We would be in those systems as opposed to passing by them on the water.
What you see in the video above is the first attempt of what could become an annual event in the RiverTrek mold. It was a three day hike through some of the most unique ecosystems in the Apalachicola basin. Torreya State Park and The Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve make you work harder than any other trails in Florida. And Doug & co. didn’t always stick to trails either, bushwhacking through steephead ravines and caves (remember Means Creek from RiverTrek?). Continue reading