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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 20, 2016

We spent the morning this past weekend getting our exercise at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale. Located east on Sunrise Blvd., this large acreage contains picnic areas, beach access, a fresh-water lake, and walking trails. The garden center is currently closed for renovations. You can go on Segway tours, rent boats or bikes, and more.

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We began our stroll by heading down a trail toward the beach. You can either access the sidewalk along the street, or go underground via a tunnel to the sandy beach. Other than inside the park, this stretch doesn’t have any amenities such as restrooms or snack bars. Entry fees for the park will range from $2.00 to $6.00, depending on if you drive a vehicle and how many people are in the car. For pedestrians only, it’s the lesser sum.

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After viewing the glistening ocean and the freighters hovering offshore, we turned back to explore the nature trails inside the state park. We spied a gopher tortoise before it vanished into the woods. The leafy trees provided welcome shade.

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The twenty-minute Maritime Hammock Trail appealed to us, so we took off along the wooded dirt path. We watched our footing as tree roots and dead leaves provided hazards underfoot. We wore hats for protection against the sun dappling through the branches and against spider webs overhead. The tree trunks were thin this time of year and the swamp not too buggy. It brought back the nostalgia of my childhood days and how I’d let my imagination roam free. In the woods near our house, friends and I would play war. These days I’d picture myself as an adventurer on a quest to another planet, wary of strange life forms and aware of danger around every corner. It refills the creative well to let your mind wander during visits to new places. I didn’t need to imagine my heroine sleuth Marla Shore being chased through the woods as I’ve already written that scene.

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See the grapes growing on the sea grape tree to above right? Another trail seemed to head off into the far distance, so we turned away from that one. Hot and sweaty, we returned to our car and drove the rest of the way around the road. This took us from the beach side to the Intracoastal with views of expensive homes and big-time yachts.

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We’re lucky we have so many parks and nature centers available in Broward County in addition to the beaches. Now is a good time to go, before the summer heat and humidity bring the mosquitoes and being outdoors–except in a pool–is less desirable.

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4 Responses to “Hugh Taylor Birch State Park”

  1. Marcia said

    As always, fun pictures, Nancy. But I wanted to tell you, you saw something even more interesting than a gopher tortoise. That is actually a soft-shelled turtle laying eggs. Great spotting! 🙂 Glad you had such a good day. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t gone out into nature in quiet a while, except for the occasional Meet the Author eco-tour boat rides on the St. Johns. But it’s too hot out there for me now, anyway. Have a great weekend.

    • Thanks for the clarification. I’m glad you know your turtles!

      • Marcia said

        Hahaha…been canoeing on Florida rivers for many, many years. I’m fairly familiar with our birds, reptiles, and other wildlife. And this was such a good picture of a soft-shell, I wanted you to know. They are much harder to photograph laying eggs than tortoises. They come up out of the water, lay the eggs, and disappear again, so you really have to be in the right place at the right time, as you were, to snap a good photo. Nice work! 🙂

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