jump to navigation

A “Catwalk” Through A Cypress Swamp May 23, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.

When we lived in NC, we spent many wonderful weekends camping and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smokies.

Blue hills

We loved to pack a picnic and hike to a waterfall where we could park our butts on a big boulder mid-river to enjoy the rushing water (and an adult beverage, or two).  Here, there is plenty of water but waterfalls are few and far between.


BFF misses our mountain meanders ~ not enough to hike the Appalachian Trail, but enough to wander in the woods and set a spell.  We came close earlier this month.

Wanting to fit in another road trip before Florida temps rose from warm to steamy, we headed to Sebring for a short visit.


Emphasis on short.

We enjoyed a quick peek at Lake Jackson . . .

2016-05-05 12-53-04_0003

And strolled around the Circle Shops, stopping to visit a pottery studio, before bidding adieu to Sebring.

2016-05-05 12-53-35_0005

With Sebring in our rear view mirror, we headed to nearby Highland Hammock State Park to do some hiking in the woods.

2016-05-05 14-34-26_0006

Our first hike started out as an easy flat walk along an elevated boardwalk.

2016-05-05 14-35-52_0010

High above the muck and mire.  Just the way I like it!

2016-05-05 14-35-40_0008

Without warning, our easy hike turned into a balancing act along a narrow “catwalk” suspended over the murky Cypress Swamp.

2016-05-05 14-40-48_0020

The catwalk had a handrail on one side and NOTHING between us and the swamp on the other.

2016-05-05 14-40-35_0018

The people who built it must have had a good laugh at the one-sided structure they left in their wake.

2016-05-05 14-41-48_0022

To make matters worse, stuff kept falling out of the tall tall trees because a big storm had blown through the  night before.

2016-05-05 14-43-52_0025

Every time a big limb dropped with a CRACK, we jumped.

2016-05-05 14-39-43_0017

Especially after seeing the creature from the black lagoon rising from the swampy soup.

2016-05-05 14-47-10_0029

To claim the boardwalk for lunch.

2016-05-05 14-47-20_0030

We didn’t see any gators or snakes.

2016-05-05 14-43-43_0024

We were OK with that.

2016-05-05 14-42-07_0023

We did see some interesting hoo doos.

2016-05-05 14-41-10_0021

And pixies hiding among the primordial ferns.

2016-05-05 14-45-31_0028

Eventually the canopy gave way to blue sky and we climbed down from the catwalk to terra firma.

2016-05-05 14-44-07_0026

Happy we lived to tell the tale, we readied ourselves to hike another trail.

2016-05-05 14-45-17_0027

Which turned out to be a very gnarly one.

2016-05-05 15-30-06_0031

After meeting up with this wise old oak . . .

2016-05-05 15-30-27_0032a

We continued along the trail until we heard “a bear” crashing through the forest in our direction.

2016-05-05 15-31-22_0034

Deciding we’d had enough nature for one day, we fled the trail.

2016-05-05 15-30-54_0033

Aah . . . that’s better!



1. Tippy Gnu - May 23, 2016

Strange how those trees grow. That seems like my kind of hike-with just enough danger to keep things interesting.

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

Cypress trees and their “knees”
Gnarly old oaks telling twisted tales
Creatures claiming the boardwalk for lunch
Hoo Doos and pixies neath primordial ferns
Nature is full of wonders

So much better (for us) to walk the catwalk than it would have been to slog through the sludge and build it.

Tippy Gnu - May 23, 2016

I’ll go along with that!

2. roughwighting - May 23, 2016

If only the pixies could talk! Fabulous photos – thanks.

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

We enjoyed the sights and sounds echoing around.

Hearing pixies speak while being regaled with tall tales from ancient oaks ~> bliss!

3. Jill Weatherholt - May 23, 2016

Great photos, Nancy!

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

My camera captured a bit of the magic of the forest primeval.

We’ll have to send Helen out to HIghland Hammocks to get shots of the “moving targets.” She might have managed to stand her ground and capture “the bear” on film!

4. Under the Oaks - May 23, 2016

You two have been doing some fun day trips lately! Love the old Oak.

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

We go through “fits and spurts” of day trips, hibernating when it’s too H~O~T to enjoy being out and about (or when chilly temps require too much bundling up ~ sightseeing is not fun if I feel like the abominable snowman).

Last night, we went to Perico Preserve for the first time since it’s Grand Opening last week. The weather was PERFECT ~> 80 degrees with an evening breeze. Bliss!

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

I thought you might enjoy the Pixies best. 😉

5. Rainee - May 23, 2016

Looks fascinating. Some great shots there – especially the gnarly ones 🙂

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

Florida has done a good job of setting aside land for state parks. It’s good for the planet, good for the wildlife, and good for us.

Nature nurtures!

6. Val Boyko - May 23, 2016

That’s my kind of walk Nancy! I’ve always been fascinated with boardwalks and catwalks … As long as they aren’t too high. Thanks for sharing the gnarls pixies and monsters 😀

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

This was a marvelous walk . . . but it felt a bit precarious when one of the handrails went MIA mid-way through the marsh.

Val Boyko - May 23, 2016

Mid-way often brings an unexpected moment of mindfulness 🙃

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

Happily, we stayed in the NOW throughout the entire hike ~ mindful of the present moment.

7. Kathy Waller - May 23, 2016

Beautiful photos. Now seeing Florida is on my bucket list. I didn’t know oak trees grew like that.

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

Hi Kathy! Florida is such a huge state with tons of diversity, even if the elevation is essentially “FLAT.”

These trees could be posters for the idea of “gnarly old oaks.”

8. Kate Crimmins - May 23, 2016

Looks beautiful except I’d be fearful of the gators.

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

If I saw a gator, I’d be wary . . . but I haven’t seen many in the 7 1/2 years we’ve been here.

Snakes, I’ve seen. But they’re mostly heading the other way by the time I see them

9. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - May 23, 2016

Now that’s an adventure! That bridge tho!!! Great pictures to go with the story, too!

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

Just the right speed of adventure for us, Kate. The crashing limbs kept us on our toes as we marched through the marsh.

10. Tiny - May 23, 2016

That was wild, Nancy!! And your pictures of the spirits of the woods are great! Now the weather is great for such adventures.

nrhatch - May 23, 2016

We’ve been taking advantage of as many days with cooler temps and lower humidity as we can . . . before we hibernate from the scorching sizzling summer sun.

Went outside just now. The breeze was up and the dewpoint was down. Delightful.

11. Debra - May 23, 2016

All that gorgeous green canopy looks like it could have been the set for one of the Jurassic Park movies! Beautiful, but it would be easy to let my imagine get the best of me. 🙂 The tree trunks are really spectacular and I can see why you’d enjoy the hike. Good thing you both have good balance. Not a place to hike if you suffer from vertigo, right?

nrhatch - May 24, 2016

That’s what I thought, Deb ~ in fact, I believe I started singing the chorus “I’m so dizzy. My head is a spinning. Like a whirlpool, it never ends.” The missing handrail must have de-railed a few hikers, causing them to turn around and retrace their steps. For us, it added to the sense of adventure . . . and caution.

12. diannegray - May 23, 2016

That gnarly old oak is huge! I love this walk – it has my name written all over it, Nancy (minus the bear) 😉

nrhatch - May 24, 2016

Would love to have you join us. Good thing we didn’t need your hiking knife to make it through the underbrush this time.

There are bears there. And signs with explanations about how to deal with them. “The bear” we heard might have been something else. We didn’t stick around to identify it.

13. Eileen - May 24, 2016

I like the gnarly wood things. Isn’t nature amazing. But like you, I’d prefer a bit of a safe distance from some of it! Great photos. Thanks for taking us on your hike with you. Delightful.

nrhatch - May 24, 2016

I love nature and try to get a dose of it daily. But I’m not about to go live off the grid in a cabin in the woods where I have daily dealings with snakes, gators, and bears. I’m too “soft.”

14. Ally Bean - May 24, 2016

This looks like a cool adventure. Green and gnarly. I forget how the real FL looks, having visited so many well-manicured places that have removed all traces of swamp. But this, for a hour or two, looks fascinating.

nrhatch - May 24, 2016

I’m right there with you, Ally ~ an hour or two in the swamps is plenty for me. I need “wide open spaces” to be at my happiest.

15. Carol Ferenc - May 24, 2016

Ah, communing with nature! Looks like it was an interesting hike and I’m glad you didn’t wind up in the swamp, Nancy.

nrhatch - May 24, 2016

Me too! I prefer being in water that’s a tad more transparent.

16. Bun Karyudo - May 25, 2016

Although I liked the photographs. The great thing about Highland Hammock State Park is all that lush foliage affording plenty of hiding places for the velociraptors.

nrhatch - May 25, 2016

Yes. Another perfect setting for a Jurassic Park . . . and only an hour or so from that Hotbed of Theme Parks ~> Orlando!

17. livelytwist - May 25, 2016

Sounds like a lovely outing. You survived with photos as proof!

nrhatch - May 25, 2016

Nice day with just enough “adrenaline” flowing.

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: