Nature and Space

We chose to do an impromptu trip to nearby Titusville and environs to end 2019. I drove up from a business trip to West Palm Beach and met Ron in Titusville, FL, “Gateway To Nature And Space”. Our goals-a nice seafood dinner and an early morning hike at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Ron recalled a worthy seafood meal at Dixie Crossing. Unfortunately for us, so did everyone else in central Florida. Next stop – Playalinda Brewing Company-Hardware Store. Excellent brews. They specialize in sandwich fare and our Cuban and Margherita Grilled Cheese did not disappoint. We had a front row seat to life passing by on US1 from our al fresco seating.

Al Fresco seating, substantially moodier at night

We drove out to the refuge early this morning and checked in with the volunteer staff about trails. There are Lots of options, very short to quite long. Finally, he pointed out the landing pad site that SpaceX uses – just over the boundary line. …. which reminded me of a fun read from this summer “Light From Other Stars”, set right here. It’s a quirky sci fi read redolent of this little corner of Planet Earth. Check it out.

We chose the Palm Trail. It was a balmy 61 degrees, slight breeze and – bonus-no bugs! This trail is through a lovely Old Florida Sabal Palm-Live Oak hammock. Then the fun starts. We walk, briskly, along the trail. At the outset is an orange tree, evidenced by someone having recently started eating one below it and dropping the peel. As we traverses the trail we realized it was a grapefruit, based on the peel and seed left on the trail. Then Ron notes that we’re seeing glaucous saw palmettos, which I find interesting. It continues like this, “wow, lots of native coffee”, “huh, that looks like coffee, but the leave are too dull and flat.”

It’s just the 2 of us, so this is acceptable, and Preferable, conversation. I relish in the fact that 2 botanist-ecologists found each other.

We continue along the trail, enjoying the morning, the breeze, the plants, the whole thing. Oooh, cool lichens and moss and ferns.

Christmas Lichen (Herpothallon rubrocinctum) and resurrection fern

Moss and some lichen on a Cabbage Palm. There’s a small moth in there too, if you can did it.

The trail is too short. There are things to be done this afternoon in Orlando. I cherish the nearness of this place and plan to revisit soon.