Park substitutes

Broward County parks are closed on Tuesdays, so Fern Forest is off limits. On my intermittent searches for a substitute park, I’ve run across some pretty nice places. Windmill Park, on Lyons Road just north of Atlantic (less than a mile from Fern Forest, actually), is OK. Today, though, I went back to the first park I visited when I started working at the soon-to-be-vacated office location: Hampton Pines Park, in North Lauderdale. It’s just a few miles west on McNab Road.

Not much to tell about this park, as far as I can see. There’s a small lake with a path around it. The path winds through some slash pines and cypress trees. It goes over a couple of small footbridges that connect the lake to the canals that border the park to the north and south. There’s a “natural” trail on the eastern side of the park that goes through some poison ivy, but once you’re past that, there’s some nice Cypress trees and slash pines.

The trail basically works like those crowd control lines at amusement parks and airports: you snake all the way one direction, move a few feet laterally, and reverse your course. Only instead of little metal stands with ribbons between them, the separators at the park are 80-foot-tall trees. And in those trees today there were a few birds: a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers, some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a pair of White-winged Doves that kept flushing one row over every time I passed…

One thing that surprised me was the number of epiphytic plants in this small grove of cypress trees. Each tree had at least a half dozen large ones; I even got a picture of one in bloom by holding up my digicam to one eyepiece of my binoculars. All in all, not a bad fallback park: you can walk around the lake at top speed if you’re goal-oriented and exercise-addicted, or you can meander through the area, looking at things, like I tend to do:

Here are some of the things I looked at today: