A Return To The River...

4:53 AM

....and a visit with the wild things!

Cypress Reflections, Take II
Watercolor in handbook•watercolor•journal
3.5 x 8.5
As promised,  a return to the river to practice water reflections. This time, I decided to focus only on the water reflections rather than trying to include the tree above the waterline as well. This is closer. Still more work and practice is in order, but at least this looks like a water reflection!

It was a day for the wild things! Soon after arriving, we kept hearing an odd noise off to our right, away from the river. Turns out it was a doe. She'd become rather nervous and was making a huffing noise deep in her chest. Finally, she burst from her hiding place and boy, was she ever quick! No photo. I didn't even have the thought of a camera in my head before she was gone! Maybe next time, but not likely.

After sketching in the morning, Chris and I started to walk back towards the main part of the park. Strolling along, I hear "pssst!" I look around to see that Chris has stopped a 6 yards back....he's spotted a "small" alligator sunning on a rock out in the middle of the river.
Gator on the rocks!
Click to enlarge
The following photos are not some of our best as we had not brought the telephoto lens with us. (Isn't that always the way?!) However, you can make out the profile of the gator easily. His tail drifts off into the water. We estimated he was about 5 feet long. A little further up the river, we stumbled on this guy (or gal):
Can you make out the gator right at the water's edge?
Click to enlarge
This one was closer to 10 feet in length. What you cannot tell from the photos is about a dozen feet up the bank is the hiking/walking trail for that side of the river! There are no walls, fencing or other barriers between hiker/walkers and the beasts of the river.

I do believe this is next guy is the granddaddy of the other two:
Can you see the gator? Look at the water's edge!
Click to enlarge
This guy was huge!! The photo just doesn't not even come close to doing him justice. See the cypress "knee" just to the right of the gator? It's probably 5 feet in height. We figure he was closer to 12 feet long and probably more. He appeared to be a couple of feet wide through the shoulder/chest area:
Click to enlarge
Again, straight up the bank (and it is rather steep) is the trail. The gators were all content just to soak up the rays, and they usually will not bother humans unless provoked or it's mating season (in the Spring). But make no mistake, these are wild beasts. They are not fed or kept in any way by the Department of Forestry (that operates the parks) or the State Game Warden. They're as wild as wild can be! Interestingly, this is also a very popular area for canoeing......

I have to say it was an absolutely fabulous Fall day and the sight of such magnificent beasts enjoying the day only added to our enjoyment! Can't wait to go back!!

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