I had driven past hundreds of times, but never stopped. Mostly because of the traffic and because by the time I noticed the sign, it was well in my rear view mirror as I navigated a sea of cars. This small section of Savannas Preserve State Park lies on the west side of US1 just south of Crosstown Parkway not too far from the boarder of Martin and St Lucie counties.
This past weekend, I passed it again and was determined this time to visit. It required a few back and forths, but finally I turned into the “Savannas Preserve State Park, Evan’s Creek.”
There were no signs of people. I put a few dollars into the state payment box and tore off the lip of the baby-blue envelope to hang on my mirror.
“Wow. This is cool I thought. I’m finally here.”
I noticed a sheriff car. I drove down a winding road through the middle of Florida scrub and what was perhaps once pine flatwoods. As in all Florida, drainage and development has altered the landscape but here there was plenty of “Old Florida” remaining. I felt relaxed and a hundred miles away from civilization!I drove slowly hoping to see a gopher turtle, noticing a sign to share the road.“This is amazing,” I thought. Once, all along US1 was scrub habitat. Think of all the animals. Think of all the birds. Think of the Native People. Think of the pioneers who where the first to clear this land…
I saw beautiful white sand, pine trees, woodpeckers, and little sparrow like birds I didn’t know. I saw sand pines and slash pines. One slash pine so large I wondered if it had escaped the loggers and turpentine men. I turned my head to see an osprey gliding over the savannas.
-A sand pine-Scrub habitat-white sands-a slash pine“Praise to the people who saved these places.” I thought. I could hear the hum of US1 in the near distance…
Finally, I made it down to the end of the road, maybe a half mile or so, and there was a cul-de-sac and neatly folded information under a shaded area.
“Oh my gosh” I thought, “I’m at the river. I’m at the North Fork of the St Lucie River!”
I guess I knew that, but I certainly wasn’t thinking I was that close to the north fork every time I drove down busy US1 to Stuart. Somehow with all the cars, with all the noise, with all the technology, with all the billboards, it seemed much further away.
I parked, got out of the car, and walked around. I looked in the tannin waters. I thought about how great it was that no houses were here. “All these years; my whole life really, and I have never visited this place! Incredible.” It was so good to see fish jumping and wading birds hunting in almost total privacy. And for people there was a great canoe/kayak launch. As I walked back towards my car, I couldn’t believe my luck. A gopher turtle was happily eating along the dunes. I pondered the passage of time knowing this gopher’s ancestors also ate from these dunes, hundreds of thousands of years ago when they were islands in an inland sea…
It felt magical to be here knowing a busy modern world was only feet away. A little piece of Florida along US1 can go a long way.
14 thoughts on “A Little Piece of Florida Along US1”
Have you read “The Swamp” by Grunwald?
I have! A work a classic genus. I should read again! Puts it all in perspective doesn’t it? 🙂
Thank you for that virtual tour, I have passed by and never noticed it. I will make it a point to check it out. The North Fork of the The St. Lucie River is a very special step back in time and full of nature and history.
Great. Thanks for message.
Thanks again for spotlighting the natural beauty of Florida!
My pleasure Mike!
Beautiful Jacqui! On our list to go hiking when my hubby returns in August from Afghanistan. Thanks very much for sharing your adventures, educating us, and showcasing the nature beauty of our area! Your gift of writing is wonderful. We love reading your blog.
Wow thank you Shelley! Thanks so much for your comment and I wish you a great visit when you husband returns.
Thank you for taking us along on your hikes. I love your photos.
Every little corner counts! Thanks so much Teri – 🙂
Your photo visit brought back many memories to me – of the days driving along Alt A1A in the 40s and 50s when there was nothing but the scenes you pictured, no homes, no gas stations or any other commercial development. In fact I have vague memories of accompanying my dad to find a Christmas tree for our local church celebration. Of course, those little pines looked nothing like those store-bought firs and cedars we use today!
Janette what memories! Bittersweet! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome and insightful comment. J
Wonderful, I plana visit as well. Never bad time to stop before and you brought it to life.Maybe I can still lower my old knee into my kayak! You always inspire me. I love you
I love you too Marjie! I am certain you could get into that kayak!!!!! 🙂