Winter Goals: Florida – Revisited

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - Picayune Strand State Forest, FloridaNow that I am back home and spring is just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to revisit the goals I had laid out back in late October.  That’s one thing about goals, people often set them, talk about them, but after things are finished, few of us go back and really examine our goals to see if we met our expectations or not.  With that in mind, let’s take a look and see how I did.

  • Cypress Canopy – Unfortunately, I totally missed this one.  My hope was to climb into the canopy of a large cypress and spend some time in the canopy.  While I didn’t get to do this, it sure wasn’t for lack of trying.  I spent a lot of time looking at trees, wherever I went, but never found a tree I was totally comfortable with.  Most of the Big Cypress Swamp region was logged in the 1940s and 1950s and while there are a few old growth trees left, most are located right on a very popular boardwalk where I was uncomfortable climbing.  I haven’t given up and have been told of at least one massive old growth tree in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, but I simply ran out of time to go search for this tree.
  • 10,000 Islands – This was another total bust but this was due to the weather not cooperating.  Carrie and I had a 5-day trip planned and we were really excited about it until the region was hit by some of the coldest weather in the last century followed by several days of strong winds.  I did spend some time on the water in my canoe in several different places, but the 10,000 islands still remain on my list of places to be explored.
  • Fakahatchee Strand – Finally, some success!  My last few days in the field were spent exploring the amazing Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.  If you don’t know this park, pick up a copy of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession or watch the somewhat strange film version, Adaptation.  I spent several days in the park, including a full day wading in the swamp with park biologist Mike Owen and a couple other guys.  I’ll have a field report from that trip in the next couple weeks, but it was one of the best days I’ve had in the field in a long time!
  • Book Updates – This was a rather vague goal, to update my book manuscript and photos or at least decide what needed updated, and I have some rather vague results.  I haven’t spent any time working with the actual manuscript, but I did make some decisions on what I want to edit and write, and how I will proceed from here.  Overall, this was a helpful trip and got my mind working on some new solutions that hopefully will result in a great updated version of the manuscript.

Tomorrow I’ll be looking at the goals I set for myself while I was here in NY.  I am a little scared because I don’t think I accomplished any of them!

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