i was all excited that i decided to take a nature detour to this very out of the way state park (in louisiana). was feeling very brave and decided i have done everything else by myself, why not hiking?! so unfortunately, i never saw this sign until after i believe i encountered an alligator. i thought i saw an alligator several times, but it turned out to always be logs. then i said, "hmmmm....what an oddly shaped log...."and i think it was an alligator's SNOUT!!!!!!!! one of the trails i was on went super close to the swamp in several spots and the snout was in one of them. but it was sticking up straight instead of w/the eyes and the top sticking out so i am really not sure. and i was NOT sticking around to find out.
i spent several minutes walking super fast and thinking "do they run out of the water?" "do they smell my fear if i am walking instead of running?" DUH- either way i am sure i reeked of fear. "can they climb trees?" "is it really true that you are supposed to run in a zig-zag pattern to escape?" which is what my drunken junior year at geneseo housemate told me! she said (or slurred) that it had something to do w/their eye placement and confusing them so they couldn't figure out where you were. the funny thing is that i said to myself "well, i have always seen clearly posted warnings in other parks for scary animals - mountain lions, bears, etc. - and i never saw one for alligators here so i am sure i am safe. and then i walked (very quickly) out of the woods and saw the above sign immediately. oops. well, geez, don't you think the lady that took my dollar should have said something?!?!?! and yes, the admission fee was a very reasonable dollar. maybe they charge that special rate for someone who looks as if they are about to become alligator food.
on a much less scary note, i saw three armadilloes!!!! wait, does it even have an 'e'?? who knew i would have to use plural armadillo in a sentence?!?!
and an egret i think it is called- a big white bird w/an orange beak. but i didn't get a good picture of it.
but i did of this HUMMINGBIRD!!!!!! i loved them so much. they were whizzing right by my head several times on the way to the feeders.
here is some of the hiking scenery
lots of twisty branches
ANOTHER perfect sunny day in the 80s.
the lake was gorgeous
then i stopped in a very cute town called st. martinville.
no photos of where i stayed b/c it was a really dirty microtel. UGH!!! now i am starting to feel itchy. again! i can't talk about it. not scrimping on lodging again!!! so i might be home earlier than i thought.... but the front desk lady rhonda was super nice. i am sure it wasn't her fault the room was disgusting and hadn't seen a vacuum since the place was built. and i wish her sons who are in the military all the best. and i thank her for steering me right w/the cajun food. first time eating it. very strange, but good. and the girl who served it to me was so cute! she is having her official NCAA visit to columbia this weekend! she is a really good middle distance track runner. very strange how i have talked more to strangers in the last week than i did in the prior 3 years!!!! travelling alone is interesting that way.
though i can't recommend travelling alone wholeheartedly for reasons like you might be too scared to get out of the car in a hardscrabble mississippi town in the pitch dark by yourself where there are no street lights anywhere near the bar even though you may be about to hear the best live blues you have ever heard and will ever hear. and THAT is a story for another entry.