April 11, 2011

4/8/11 – Lower Suwannee NWR

We decided to go out for dinner then first night we stayed at Old Town Campground.  It was a Thursday evening, and around 6:30 when we drove to Old Town.  Hmmm….only one place seemed to be open and it was in the process of closing.  We turned around and went back the other direction—found a tavern.  I asked the waitress if they served tourists—then when George said we were from Seattle, she called him a “yankee”!  Turned out they didn’t serve food, so we headed on up the road.  Found a little diner and had good food for little money, and lots of good conversation with the owners.
The next day we drove to Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.  We went to the Headquarters first—I think we were the first visitors in weeks.  Not a lot of traffic to this particular place…  We talked to the ranger quite awhile about our trip.
First sent us over to walk the River Trail, and the Boardwalk across the swamp.  I found some pretty cool wildflowers, and wild indigo. 

 Next we explored the Lower Suwannee Nature Drive, a nine-mile loop.  A Great Egret was stalking lunch along the roadside, but flew off when we got closer.  Some funky little crabs scuttled across the road in front of us.  Of course, I had to get out of the truck to check them out...
When the road circled back to CR #347, we drove south, then west to Shell Mound.  There’s a mile long loop trail around and up on to the 28’ tall mound, and a big fishing pier right on the Gulf.  The mound is a 5 acre midden of millions of shells used by ancient cultures.  Talk about a long-term garbage pile!
There’s a fishing pier out across the salt marshes, right on the Gulf, where you can watch the wading birds watch the fish.
After we left there we drove across the causeway to Cedar Key.  Cedar Key itself is quaint little town, famous for the oysters they raise.  Ten islands make up Cedar Key NWR, but you can’t get there without a boat.  We walked around town for awhile, then stopped for dinner.  I didn’t realize that George had never had oysters before—he was game, but he didn’t like them!  We saw dolphins playing out in the water; the window was greasy from fingerprints of everyone pointing at them all day long! 

More pictures of the day:  Lower Suwannee NWR 

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