The Coming of Fall

Fall is coming and all I can think about are my past fall trips. Last year, my trip to Atlanta was the perfect start to fall. It was a big difference from the heat of Florida and enough humidity to make a dog actually sweat. Though Georgia’s winter wasn’t very kind to my ribcage arthritis, it is definitely not a place to forget.

Being a truck driver, I finally got to see what the coming of fall looked like. As I drove through Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennesse and Northern Georgia, I got to see the trees taking on the entire range of fall colors. The reds, oranges, browns, and yellows were amazing. It’s fascinating how nature follows this schedule as they prepare for winter. One could compare it to a peak season in a warehouse. (Yes I worked in a warehouse – Amazon). The entire atmosphere changes as the big event approach.

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While in Atlanta, I got to hike through a mountain that was preparing for fall. The trees were going bare, leaves blanketed the ground like snow and everywhere you looked were fifty shades of brown. I know it may sound like a dead zone, but it was anything but that. It was peace and serenity wrapped in a neat bow. You sit on one of the benches provided for you that overlooked the calm river and your head goes to a different place. You sit at in the center of a changing atmosphere, nature preparing for what’s to come ahead. Everything dying around you and yet more beautiful than you could ever imagine.¬†

 

It is unclear if Florida will even have a winter this year due to the bipolar weather, but the coming of fall is still much anticipated. Perhaps this year we will actually have a fall AND a winter. We’re never prepared for it like we’re never prepared for hurricanes, but for once, we’d like to experience what so many others around the country experience.

Playground Beneath the Dames Pointe Bridge

If you’re ever in Jacksonville, there is one place that may excite your senses. The Dames Pointe Bridge park is located directly under the infamous bridge itself. There you can fish the St. John’s river, launch your jet ski’s, take in the beautiful structure of the bridge, climb over rocks to get a view of the winding river or just simply watch tugboats escort massive cargo ships out to sea.

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Granted, this park faces a major problem when it comes to debris. At one point while playing explorer, I came across what looked like a dumping ground for used car tires. It was depressing to look at and I wondered if the city even knew (or cared) about the situation. I also wondered if there were so many that sat on the shore, I could only imagine how many resting at the bottom of the river with fish making a home inside of them.

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The beauty of this park has been made more special due to the memorial that now provides as the resting spot for the thirty-three lives lost on board the U.S. cargo ship The El Faro.

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The Dames Pointe Bridge Park is a beauty of peace and remembrance. It is interesting that not very many people know about the existence of the park, understandably seeing as how even the GPS times out when you get closer to the location.

Despite its secret location, if found, it will not let you down. The park provides adventure and serenity to those who visit. If you’re a couple who wants a beautiful view to enjoy together or a fisherman wanting a getaway spot to fish without competition or just photographer in search of multiple eye-grabbing sceneries, this park is definitely the place to be.

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Washington Oaks Part I: The Disaster Trail

I’ve spent more than my fair share on nature trails, some of them boring beyond compare and other so exciting I had to go back two and three times to get my fill. At the Washington Oaks State Gardens park, their supposed nature trail had to be the very worst. It’s a good thing that the nature trail wasn’t the highlight of the park or I would have wanted every bit of my five dollars back.

I’m not sure what others expect out of a nature trail, but a true lover of nature wouldn’t have appreciated the botched display of purposely cut trees tossed everywhere to make the trail feel more nature-like.

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Everywhere you looked, it looked as if the city collected all the broken trees and debris collected from Hurricane Maria’s wrath and tossed them into this park. It was an eyesore to see and didn’t provoke the slightest bit of wonder and admiration for Mother Earth’s creation of plant life.

Usually, on a nature trail, there is always some sort of attraction coming that will make the walk worth it. After I bypassed the tree graveyard, I finally saw water. I thought, “Finally!” Of course, it had to be ruined. This location was the closest I could get to the water, no boardwalk, deck, or even a shoreline to enjoy the water. If I had stepped any closer, I would have slipped and fallen into a bath of wet, thick mud flooded with some sort of flying bugs. Disappointed, I turned and walked on.

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The closest I could get to the water.

I walked for another few minutes until I came across these two pillars which looked like the ruins of a great house. My excitement peaked again ready to see an old house to take plenty of pictures of. I raced through the pillars with my camera in hand. I came to a paved road with a dead end. No house. No ruins. Nothing. Just a continuation of the same path I was already on. How could this trail get any worst?

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After the trees cleared, I came across an open field. My jaw could have hit the ground at the sight. It looked as if a plague had swept across the land. I suppose the recent hard freeze had something to do with it, but it was more than that, it was the result of what looked like a deforestation project which shut down and never cleaned up.

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As I kept down the small trail weaving through the dead zone, you could see trees that were sawed down to the ground where they left the trunk barely sticking out of the ground. Each trunk surrounded by piles of wood pieces obviously made by a tree saw.

At last, some excitement finally had come for me. The trail led through a path of trees which had lost all of its leaves but had thriving saw palmettos growing at the base. It was a beautiful contrast of life and death. I couldn’t stop taking photos of the natural beauty.

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After passing through that bit of wonder, it was more dead zone. A clear reminder of the way humans devastate a forest, unfortunately, this forest was slain to no cause, just a means to an end.

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After I finally got out of the trail, I got back to my car ready to leave, but I saw many cars and people walking around at the other end of the park. Something had to be drawing them in, perhaps this so called garden.

 

I talk about that in Washington Oaks Part II: The Fragile Garden. Stay tuned.