1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Juniper Creek Trail--A Chuck-Norris-Yet-Curious-George Kind of Place

I don't advocate eating wild mushrooms, but finding some with eerily familiar shapes on Juniper Creek Trail last week sent my imagination soaring to new heights. The first one you see here looks a lot like a meringue, don't you think? It's only missing those glistening drops that form as the meringue cools after baking.


"To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said

'I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head.

Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be,

Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!'"

Daughter and SAM spotted this one before I did. It could be a veritable feast in the eyes of a survivalist slowly running out of provisions after weeks in the forest. A chicken for every pot, you say? Who needs meat when there's so much soul-food to find along the trail? As Steinbeck's Lennie would say, you could "live off the fatta the lan' " right here.

And hundreds of voices joined in the chorus:--

"Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,

And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:

Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea--

And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!"

Angling for the right to be noticed, this wild Blazing Star, Liatris tenuifolia--a member of the Aster family--grows abundantly along the sunnier meadow portions of the trail, not far from where it begins at the tiny parking area. At this time of year, be sure to douse yourself with insect repellant. Once you leave the more open meadow environment and enter the close woods, the flora begins to change, and the fauna with an appetite for human blood will start to annoy you. Actually, there is no "off" season in Florida for those pesky things. You've got to really love the heat--and bugs--to stay in this kitchen. Of course, there are silver linings to every cloud of mosquitoes. Once in a while, you'll find a delicate wildflower like the Climbing Butterfly-Pea, Centrosema virginianum, to take your mind off your troubles.

Then followed a confused noise of cheering, and Alice thought to herself "Thirty times three makes ninety. I wonder if any one's counting?" In a minute there was silence again, and the same shrill voice sang another verse:--

" 'O Looking-Glass creatures,' quoth Alice, 'draw near!

'Tis an honour to see me, a favour to hear:

'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea

Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!' "

You might think the water here is made out of iced tea. It's certainly cold enough, and the tannin that comes from the native oaks gives it a warm gold color, especially on a sunny autumn day. The first inhabitants and then the white settlers who came later found tannin to be quite useful for preserving animal hides and maybe even their own. Mixed with animal fat and some other useful, stinky ingredients, it protected them from stinging, biting insects and too much sun exposure. I wonder what the SPF might have been?

Then came the chorus again:--

"Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,

Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:

Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine--

And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!"

It's kind of sad to think that part of the trail is slowly slipping away, steadily eroding into the river and eventually washing out to sea. On the drive down to the wilderness area, we passed some construction (destruction?) workers cutting trees and removing their stumps from a parcel of land nearby. I hope that whatever they're building is worth the price, and I'm not talking about money. It's hard to say if Florida will ever do a "180" (degree turn) on land consumption. Construction around where we live has almost ground to a halt, which isn't too good for the local economy, but at least the land gets a much-needed shabbath, or rest.

When I zoomed in on the eroded hill, I saw that someone had left his or her mark behind for the whole world to see. I wonder how many years "BJ" will be around for future hikers to find?

"Ninety times nine!" Alice repeated in despair. "Oh, that'll never be done! I'd better go in at once--" and in she went, and there was a dead silence the moment she appeared. Alice glanced nervously along the table, as she walked up the large hall, and noticed that there were about fifty guests, of all kinds: some were animals, some birds, and there were even a few flowers among them. "I'm glad they've come without waiting to be asked," she thought: "I should never have known who were the right people to invite!"

After a long stretch of trail, even iced-tea water starts to look inviting. Not too far past this sand bar where we took off our shoes and waded in, a shelter--built by Boy Scouts--awaits the weary walkers, and there are surprises to be found inside it--no, not the Man in the Yellow Shirt and the girl in the blue shorts.

Curious-George bloggers like to read what other people have to say about this place. What did they see, and what were their impressions of it?

Some thoughtful people are trying to encourage a conversation here.

I hope that Chuck Norris enjoyed our little corner of Florida. I'd like to think that you "Go with God" too, Mr. N--whoever you are--when you walk the trails.


  1. That river of liquid gold is certainly spectacular.

    All the rain we've had lately has brought us a wonderful crop of fungus in all shapes and sizes.

  2. Why is the "man in the yellow shirt" holdin his britches leg up? Don't look like that water is too awful deep to me. ;~P

  3. Awesome shots and great narrative as always. That stream is a really weird color. I've never seen that before. We are having tons of mushrooms sprout here too. All this rain is really something.

  4. It is a wonderland! Thanks for taking us along. That yellow water is unlike anything I've ever seen.

  5. TC, I guess W2W called me the "man in the yellow shirt" because we've been watching a lot of Curious George episodes with our grandson. Why am I holding up my pant legs? I haven't a clue - maybe I'm trying to be dainty.

  6. Hi, Marnie. I seem to be kinda stuck on the idea of gold, don't I? Must be the fault of all those commercials and pawn shop signs trying to convince people to cash in their old jewelry. I've noticed many more metal detectors on the beach lately too. If there had been a hurricane this year, you probably would encounter complete anarchy and chaos in the aftermath. A lot of old shipwrecks are still out there in the Gulf, waiting to be discovered/dislodged.

    TC, I guess you have your answer now.

    Tina, we've been having little showers on an almost daily basis, which helps me a lot, not having to keep everything watered. I don't think we've had quite as much, though, as you all have been enduring this year. Maybe you're due for a nice dry winter (no snow or ice)!

    Hi, Sarah! You're welcome. We don't have quite the hiking opportunities here in the Panhandle as you do in Maine, but there's still plenty of beauty to see and share.

  7. Hiya! I'm here via Nature Notes. This is a double treat. I also love to photograph and write or use quotes, but I have not done so in your unique way. My eyes lingered over your shots and absorbed the literary references with eagerness.

    Terrific closeups and other assorted photos- pure delight!
    As for Alice in Wonderland, my daughter dubbed me the White Queen for reasons I ought to blog about (or not LOL). I'm delighted to have found you via Nature Notes.

  8. A wonderland, Alice or not. The golden water is strange looking but spectacular.

  9. Gel, I think we've visited each other's site before, but it's been a while. Thanks for stopping by again. I didn't actually link to Michelle's Nature Notes meme this week, which was kinda dumb of me. You probably saw my comment on her site a couple of days ago. I'd love to read about your daughter's reason for naming you the White Queen. Thanks again!

    Troutbirder, thank you. When we first moved here, I was grossed out by what I thought was dirty water in the streams. Then I took a float trip on a tube and learned just how refreshing (spring-fed) and generally clean the rivers can be--if not too close to human habitation. People in the rural areas have septic tanks which may or may not be kept in good working order.

  10. That is one cool mushroom at the top. Too bad about the stone graffiti.

  11. I hope you will print up your blog posts into one of those books you can make because I think this is so unusual or unique and special. I honestly never know what I will find here, but I know it will always be terrific... Michelle

  12. Hi, may name is Luiz Neto... Im from Brasil...
    I like your blog... I don"t speak english ... but anderstand your intencion of nature... Congratulations...
    "Feliz é o homem que sabe preservar a MÃE natureza"...

  13. Is it good for jelly fish stings I wonder?

  14. Chuck Norris, Alice, Lennie--you never fail to surprise me with all your connections, W2W:) The river of gold is quite unusual; I wonder if early settlers thought it really was a river of gold. Reading about Alice and looking at mushrooms always reminds me of Jefferson Airplane/Starship's "White Rabbit." Now if Gracie Slick had signed the book, too, that would have been eerie!

  15. I almost forgot--you asked me after your last post who else was writing about King David. It's Liz at "Finding Life Hard." I don't know how to do a link here, but if you check my blogroll, you'll find a link there. She's usually near the top, as she posts frequently.

  16. Sorry, everyone, for not responding or visiting for a while. Been "out of pocket" for a while. MBT, the hill is not solid stone, only a well-compacted sand dune held in place for years by many tree roots and little disturbance. I'm ashamed to admit it, but even hikers are somewhat to blame for the gradual erosion. I wish I knew how to float!

    Michelle, thanks. I think self-publishing may be the way to go these days. I might try it on a limited basis. I recommend the same idea to you.

    Thank you very much, Luiz! I would add: And "happy is the woman who knows how to preserve Mother Nature." I'm working on it. If you have your own blog, I'd love to read it.

    Mr. S, I guess you're referring to the tannin? I've not been stung yet by jellyfish, so I don't know. I would guess so since it's an astringent, similar to witch hazel, only more concentrated.

    Rose, you know me. I'm unpredictable, eclectic, strange... The early settlers probably were interested in gold, and if they were patient enough, they might have found some nano-particles of real gold in the sand. Thanks for remembering! I'll look up Liz's post.

  17. Very nice work, this part of the world is so familiar to me that I consider it a gift to see it from fresh eyes.

  18. Hi, Paula! Glad to see that you are back to blogging. I've been laying it aside myself lately because of other things vying for my attention, like trying to make some money. Blogging has become almost a guilty pleasure for me. I guess it's the electronic version of a chocolate fix--almost as fattening because of the sedentary nature of the activity.

  19. very useful read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you know that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

  20. Why are you anonymous, Anonymous, if you want to follow me on Twitter? And why would hackers, Chinese or otherwise, want to bust Twitter? Is there some kind of monetary gain or is there prestige in it, even though the person who did it must remain anonymous? The world is still full of mystery, I guess.