Nature Walk on the Flint River

It was time to get out for a long nature walk – we headed down “Anne Lane” to the bottomland. It was quite warm yesterday, and I had been back-packing the Peanut up the bluff already, so I wimped out and asked if we could take the gator down to the river. Everyone was agreeable, so off we went.

Isn’t this view amazing??!! Shep and Butch (Rob’s parent’s dogs) took off after some strange dogs and people on horseback, so Rob tossed Peanut in my lap and told the kids to hold on tight. Off we went to chase the dogs. The kids were so thrilled – they screamed in our ears the whole way up the long hill and all the way through the gigantic mud puddle that we plowed through at breakneck speed. When we reached the top of the hill, the dogs were there waiting. We turned around after our little adventure and this remarkable view was in front of us. The picture doesn’t really do it justice! The far right treeline borders the Flint River, and that is where we had just come from – and where we were headed back to. This all used to be cotton, but was recently bought and the owner has planted pasture grass for hay for his cows. It’s certainly beautiful.

We finally made it to the dam. The water is quite low because of the drought lately, but that made it possible for us to find some great treasures – lots of little fossil rocks, some mussel shells, and lots of flint (hence the name of the river.) Everyone had a great time treasure hunting here!

The dogs were happy to plop in the river for some much needed cooling off. Here’s Shep – he was really tired by this time. He just sat right down at the base of the falls and stayed there!

Treasure hunting! The falls and dam in the background were made a number of years ago to divert water to an old grist mill that was just to the left of where the kids are now standing – on the opposite side of the river from us. Sadly, the mill burned to the ground just a couple of months ago.

This is a great shot of the falls – we all climbed up that neat stepped rock formation to the top of the dam – it was a neat perspective for the kids to see the top of the dam. Down here the water moves quickly – there is the sound of the falls and the rocks are pocked and carved from years of water pounding on them. But the top of the falls was…

…so peaceful. The water seems to barely move up here. We found an area near the top here where some tree limbs and leaves had wedged themselves together and provided a very calm place within. There were a number of tiny minnows in this area – it was neat to watch. Peanut discovered them instantly and cried out “pishyies!” Translation “fishies!”

Here are Peanut and I on the rocks at the base of the falls. Rob (taking the picture) was still on the rock formation that form the dam.

After getting our feet wet in the river, we climbed back in the gator. We decided to ride down through the bottom land a little more before heading up to the house. The bottom land had been seeded earlier in the season with fescue. This land has been flooded numerous times because of its close proximity to the Flint River. These floods deposit countless nutrients in the soil here, so it is rich and offers beautiful plant life. We are always amazed at the number of flowers we find here in the rich land along the Flint. It varies from season to season. This day the children were enamored with the vast numbers of buttercups to be picked. We also saw a number of stephanotis, queen anne’s lace, and some little purple harebells. We didn’t see any deer or other wildlife today, but we were a little loud!

I love stephanotis! I had them decorating my wedding cake in lieu of fancy icing! It is such a pretty little plant. There were a number of these little clumps at the woods edge – always in the dappled sunshine. I am very tempted to go back soon and dig up a few and try to start them around my house. They are said to be evergreen, though I wonder if they could handle our sometimes harsh winters. Still, it would be lovely to see them climbing and flowering up the columns of my front porch.

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