|A red azalea- such a beauty!|
It was a treat. Well, maybe not for my son, who was destined to spend four hours in a small classroom reviewing math in preparation for the upcoming ACT exam, but for me it was definitely a treat. My friend Michelle, author of the popular blog Applie's Place, also had a daughter doing the review, so she drove all four of us over to the Palatka location of St. Johns River State College.
After we dropped the kids off, the two of us headed over to Ravine Gardens State Park. It was my first time there, and I had hopes that I would be able to see the ravine wreathed in color from the resident azaleas. Unfortunately, due to the rains the prior day, the park was only about 20% for the azaleas. Nevertheless, I wasn't disappointed. It turns out that, whether it is azalea season or not, Ravine Gardens State Park is well worth the visit!
|Steps going down convert to steps going up afterwards. I had to choose my steps carefully!|
|Where we spent the majority of our time.|
We had four hours to explore, but I had to be mindful of myself as well. The climb down into the ravine is easy, but it is no easy matter to hoist oneself back up with compromised lungs. We meandered a little bit (not nearly enough, but it was all I could manage) and eventually made our way over to the suspension bridge where we happily spent the bulk of the time snapping photos and spinning or knitting. There were so many lovely things to photograph, too! First up: the azaleas. I'm thankful there were still several beauties to enjoy.
But azaleas weren't the only things in bloom...
And fiddlehead ferns...
But by far the best find of all was this:
|It doesn't look like much, but just take a peek inside...|
and you'll see this...
|Four tiny eggs in a neat little nest!|
Here's a close-up:
|The eggs are perhaps 3/4 inch long|
We took a few minutes to figure out which feathered creature constructed such an ingenious nest and found it to be the red-eyed vireo. We never caught sight of the mother, but we didn't linger long. Soon enough, we headed back up the steps to find some shelter from a few stray raindrops.
|Catch my breath, it's a bit of a climb!|
All too soon it was time to go. The kids were nearly done with their class, and we knew they would be hungry. Truthfully, I could have stayed there all day. I'll have to return again, hopefully physically strengthened so that I can better explore it. Until then, I'll have sweet memories to savor of this special day.