Updated: May 19, 2021
12713 Ft Caroline Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
May 8th 2021
The Timucuan Preserve has been one of my favorited go-to weekend spots since living in Atlantic Beach (about 5 months now). My new work-from-home life gives me the freedom to live where ever I want (which I have always wanted), but it also get a little lonely sometimes not having a buzzing office space. I love coming out to the wetlands and slowly walking the paths, admiring the palms and tracks in the sand. Or sitting and looking out for a beautiful wading bird. It is a great form of meditation. I let the wind in the trees and the buzzing of the insects replace the missing feeling of the buzzing office.
The Timucuan Preserve is one of the few unspoild coastal wetlands in our state. With 46,000 acres, the entire preserve consists of many activities. 5 miles of hiking trails, endless paddling waterway trails, horseback riding, and historical preservation from the time of Spanish interactions with the Timucuan Native Americans.
History Meets Nature
At Timucuan Preserve, the history of our cultural resources, and our present nature intertwine. You can clearly see the interaction humans once had with nature. All the way to the Shell Middens built by the Native Americans, up to the structure of the plantation homes
and tabby structures in the 1800's on Kingsly Plantation.
Below an uprooted tree, you can see just how abundant oyster shells are. Providing material for tools and shelter for the Native Americans that once lived here.
The trails were very well marked with color trailblazers. First looking the map before entering, I studied the path I wanted to take and easily memorized, "left at green" to reach the overlook.
This sign displays different wildlife to keep an eye out for while traversing the trails. Some, like the birds of prey, are much easier to spot than the creepy crawling insects.
A point of recommendation I would have for this sign would be in the labeling of the species. Some of these are commonly known by other names. Like the Golden Silk Spider. Most people refer to this at a Banana Spider. And the Leaffooted Bug as a Stink Bug. Having the common although incorrect names would help educate people.
This sign that introduces your hike onto the trail poses intangibles ideas with history. It paints the scene of the trail the Spanish soldiers would have taken. Nowhere near the lovely groomed trail we have to enjoy today. From this sign, you get a glimpse into what it might have been like to trek the wild, untamed Florida terrain.
The terrain is all over the place. Starting with a level boardwalk, to slippery leaves, then thick tree roots just waiting for a misplaced step to grab your ankle, and soft white sand.
In my video below, you can not only see but hear the difference in the terrain. Along with the hidden birds that live in the preserve.
Predominant Plants and Ecosystems
The salt marsh is swarming with all kinds of life. From soaring Egrets above, to little crawling fiddler crabs below. The flow of the tides is like a continual heartbeat keeping the thriving ecosystem alive.
The brackish water found in this marsh provides a home for a variety of species. Spotted on my journey were:
Great Blue Heron (left)
Great White Heron (middle)
Brown Pelican (right)
All images featured are taken by myself.