A trip to Orlando yesterday to pick up rentals for the wedding of a friend’s daughter provided a good excuse to slog through the muck north of Lake Jesup to get an up close look at the swamp sunflowers.
Exiting off SR 417 on Lake Mary Boulevard and then driving about five miles, including down a one lane road, we found the parking area at the trailhead at the Lake Jesup Conservation Area (Marl Bed Flats Trail).
An article describing the place to get a look at the flowers suggested taking the red trail for the best view but warned that this trail is wetter and muddier than the yellow one. What’s a little mud? We’d brought shoes that could withstand some mud. In fact, we were well prepared: boots, long pants, long sleeve shirts, hats, and insect repellent.
Fortunately there was no need for bug spray, but it was all I could do to keep the swamp from gobbling up my shoes. And the sounds of unseen gators bellowing somewhere to my left made it difficult to really enjoy the beauty of the millions of yellow flowers.
Finally we reached drier ground where either the gators were sleeping or far enough away to no longer frighten me. Time for pictures.
If you plan to see the swamp sunflowers along Lake Jesup this year, you don’t have any time to waste. They’re already past their peak. Or you might just want to add this to your calendar for late September or early October 2016. But, I recommend taking the yellow trail.