One of my goals for 2015 is to go on a photo walk at least once a month. Three purposes for this goal – 1: get out and find new locations 2: exercise my eye (composition) and equipment, 3: more exercise! I’m embarrassed to admit that after living in Gainesville Florida for 15 years – I have never visited LaChua Trail in Paynes Prairie. I hear the stories of people seeing alligators, wild horses, and bisons. I just had to finally see for myself.
There is a $4 per car park entrance fee. The first part of the walk is on a raised boardwalk that overlooks Alachua Sink. There are a couple covered observation areas to take the view in and relax. At the end of the boardwalk you have a choice to go back to the car park – and you can proud of your 1 mile round trip walk. But…..most people get off the boardwalk and walk to the observation tower almost a mile ahead. Here is where you really get up close and personal with nature.
On the weekends there may be a information booth set up by the Friends of Paynes Prairie Organization at the end of the boardwalk. The kids can see a stuffed alligator and ask questions about the animals they will see on the trail.
You are totally on your own beyond this point – and there are signs that warn you to stay on the path. But this is where the fun is! If you go on the weekends – you really aren’t totally on your own – its a very popular walk and there are many people that visit.
On the day that I went it was very sunny after a week of cloudy and rainy days so the alligators were all out and basking in the warm sunshine along the banks of the canal – and – on the edges of the trail.
I don’t know what kind of birds these are but they are sure pretty!
We finally reached the observation booth and took in the view from the top! I can’t tell you how proud I am that I finally was able to visit LaChua Trail. Now that I’ve been there – I feel comfortable coming back by myself – especially around sunset. This place would make an awesome backdrop for a photography session – especially for graduating Gators!! Get it – Gators with Gators! Below is my handsome hubby who came with me on my expedition.
The view from the top.
You can get more information on LaChua Trail and Paynes Praire here and here.