Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fred Gannon, the Father of Rocky Bayou State Park

Happy Father's Day, Fred!

Today we took a little drive right around the corner from my friend Robin's house to the Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, to take in some nature trails. I started wondering, who was Fred Gannon and found some history not unlike ours on Culebra. This area was also used as a bomb testing site, at least until it began to be developed. I'm sure there's more to that story; Eglin Air Force base is very close by but there are no more bombing runs. 

It's hard to find out a whole lot about Fred Gannon, not even a photo in my search, but he at least got the park named after him, to recognize his part in the park's creation. 

"In the late 1950s, Colonel Fred Gannon, Director of Civil Engineering at Eglin Air Force Base, proposed to convert the range into a public area. The Engineering group began the initial construction of the park under his direction following his proposed designs for the proposed park. In 1966, shortly after completion of the road and trail work, the lands were purchased by the state and became part of the Florida State Park system."

Maybe we need Culebra to become a designated national park...

There are 3 trails in the park, short and looping back to the main parking area. We walked all of them and only ran across a few people along the way - surprising for a weekend, but good for us!

First sighting

All of the paths are sandy and fairly wide.
There was a totally sand path down by the lily pond but
I thought I heard a gator so we stayed on the high side.

Deer moss is everywhere. It's soft and very beautiful.

A baby burl
One path was along the bayou. At one point we could see the bridge we'd come over, the one right by Robin's. How good to be able to walk away from civilization with only a very short drive. 

Rocky Bayou

A fair sized spider with a big sized web

Do not disturb
The magnolias had already bloomed up here but their glossy leaves stood out in the various oaks (including a Turkey Oak, which I'd never heard of before) and pines like a wild orchid in a desert. But there was more. 

Helping unions. Hurricane Michael did a LOT of damage around here,
it was good to see that these trees lived by a serendipitous fall. 

If you know how big luna moths get (BIG), this butterfly was close to that large.
With one torn wing, he still fluttered from barely a blossom to barely a blossom.

This magnolia was huge, the largest by far on the trails.
There is a good restoration going on here, with an artificial lake that was dammed being drained and the small tributaries from the bayou being allowed to once again create their own waterways through the park. The lily pond is one result.

Some delicate moss of some kind at my feet

If I'd not heard what I thought was a gator, I could have gotten a lot closer.
Instead, I let my zoom do the work.

When we first saw this, we thought it was a big rock.
Except there aren't big rocks around here.
It was, instead, the stump of a very old tree.

I think, according to images, this is a wood thrush. There were three of them, hopping down the path in front of us. They would walk and hop and occasionally fly a very short distance and then return to the trail. Then a noisy couple came along and they flew off. Now that I know what it might be, I'm reminded of our own thrushes; it has very similar movements. I liked these...
They say the wood thrush has a short tail, and this one doesn't.

This amber/gold dragon fly was magnificent, with the sun lighting it up.
We usually try to get in one nature walk when I'm here and this one worked for me. Next time we're thinking Ponce de Leon park. Maybe it works!

Have a sensorily sensual Sunday. Do something sensitively. 

And Happy Father's Day!!


  1. This is a wonderful read and the pics are fabulous! I shared on Facebook - brava, well done.

  2. This is a wonderful read and the pics are fabulous! I shared on Facebook - brava, well done.

  3. This is a wonderful read and the pics are fabulous! I shared on Facebook - brava, well done.