Enchanted Forest

October 5, 2011

With the first hint of Fall in the air, hiking has become a desirable activity once again.  And the first hiking of the season took place in an Enchanted Forest. 

The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary in Titusville that is.

The 462-acre forest is part of the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Land (EEL) Program.  This EEL Program consists not just of one designated location but several. According to their website, an EEL Sanctuary is:

  • A place of wonder, contemplation and discovery
  • A resource for environmental education
  • A preserve to protect biodiversity and natural resources
  • An opportunity to experience Florida as the early inhabitants did

I agree with all of these, and more. For several years I lived in apartments and my only sanctuary was out in nature, mostly in parks. So I’m a strong advocate of outdoor areas being preserved, yet open to the public.

The hiking around the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary is more of a walk than a hike, as the trails are easy, and if taken separately, relatively short. We explored five of the trails, walking a total of just over 3 miles. 

Our Titusville Forest

Near the intersection of two trails, we came across this unhurried soul, fresh from his underground abode (if the sand on his back is any indication).

The Education Center located at the Sanctuary provides interactive exhibits on the  biodiversity that makes up this small pocket of Florida. In one, you choose an object and place it under a microscope. In others, you test your knowledge with trivia.

This is a new find, and I’m excited to explore the rest of the locations being preserved by the Brevard County EEL Program.  It seems there really is more to Florida than just concrete jungles full of flashy rides and rows and rows of junk food.  Floridians do care about what’s in their back yard. Brevard County is proving just that.


Not Just Another Palm

May 14, 2010

If asked the question, what kind of tree is Florida known for, the majority of people would say the Palm Tree.  And we definitely have those.  But how many people would guess that Live Oaks are also prevalent throughout Florida?

Exploring for a new hiking trail, we pulled into the parking area for the Fairchild Oak of the Bulow Creek State Park in Flagler County.  The massive oak tree spread out before us.

It has been reported as old as 2,000 years, and as young as 400 years.   A quick Internet search on the Fairchild Oak presents in-depth analysis, history, botany and arborist-speak.  But it doesn’t take a genius to realize the minute you set eyes on this massive tree that it is old, that it is special.  To read more into it diminuates its power as a symbol of the beauty and resilience of nature.  The child in you immediately wants to climb up on the branches and into the arms of the tree.  The adult in you however can only stand in awe of its size and strength. 

History and scientific facts are nice to know but cannot compare with just being there, looking up into the branches of such a massive tree.  You want to touch it, hug it, stare at it, sit under its shade and rest against its massive trunk.  You want to throw down a blanket and have a picnic near it, maybe even get married under it.  It is nature at its best. And for me totally unexpected in the Sunshine State, a state I have always associated with beaches, theme-parks, and yes, with palm trees.