As far as highway rest stops go, this one on Interstate 10 an hour west of Jacksonville, Florida is spectacular and has earned its place on the Sanguine Root list of Happy Places. This westbound rest stop at mile 318 is located within the Osceola National Forest, which Interstate 10 cuts right through. It has the usual amenities of a standard rest stop: the truck parking area, bathrooms, a doggie area, an easy merge back on the highway.
This one is special because it features a one mile long nature trail that leads into a forest of Bald Cypress trees, complete with boardwalk and signage.
Here on the trail is the Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) underneath a canopy of Longleaf Pine. This fine forest is right behind the pictured rest stop below. A sign directs the interested visitor right into this enchanting forest landscape.
Note that some trees were kept as landscape specimens.
On the long ride, a little bit of education can go a long way.
This rest stop has the infrastructure for touring a Bald Cypress habitat! Sean Solomon is trying to decide which plant to photograph first.
Does a Bear drop scat in the woods? This above pictured deposit has been identified as the waste material left by a bear. Its always good to be able to read the landscape and get an understanding of what beings are part of certain habitats.
At first sight, the buttressed trunk of the Bald Cypress is the most striking feature. This stand features an understory of Magnolia virginiana, the Sweetbay Magnolia.
Northern Florida is 27 inches below average rainfall this year, and this swamp has dried down.
The snag (a dead tree still standing) to the left of the large Bald cypress has a hole in it, most likely dug out by a woodpecker.
What an exceptional Interstate rest-stop!