Saturday, September 20, 2008

Return to the Park

Lettuce Lake Park, that is, and more, adding another to our park hit list in the process. Due to a combination of being preoccupied (college football season has started) and inertia, we, or rather I, have not been having a walk at the park for a while now. Somehow I have managed to find excuses to postpone the walk, until two weeks ago (earlier on we did drop by the park, but it ended up as a drive through because of an unexpected drizzle).

It was a sunny morning, and we strode along the boardwalk, our usual route that skirts the river. This time, though, we managed to complete the loop due to some recent upgrading of the boardwalk (the second half was condoned off for repair on our previous trip).

We went up the observation tower, and met a lady standing next to a telescope (or was it a camera with a long zoom?) on a stand. The first thing we noticed on the surface of the river was the unusual abundance of floating plants, much like the water hyacinth back home. Then we were living in Muar, Johor and the town is just next to the Muar River, which debouches into the Straits of Malacca. These clusters of water hyacinth would move like floating islands up and down the river with the tide.

As an aside, water hyacinth can pose problems, primarily because of its fast growing ability. According to Wikipedia, “(w)hen not controlled, water hyacinth will cover lakes and ponds entirely; this dramatically impacts water flow, blocks sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, and starves the water of oxygen, often leading to fish kills (or turtles). The plants also create a prime habitat for mosquitos, the classic vectors of disease, and a species of snail known to host a parasitic flatworm which causes schistosomiasis (snail fever).” That said, the same abundance ability can also be capitalized to provide “cattle food and in biogas production. Recently, they have also begun to be used in wastewater treatment,” the same source continues. I guess, as in most things in life, there is always a flip side. Here though, the floating plant phenomenon seems like a seasonal thing, thanks to the sub-tropical climate.

Anyway, back to the Park, and follow us through a pictorial tour seen though our eyes, or rather, camera lens. Our adventure on the park trail will resume at the end of this tour, recording today's feature.

The nearly "choked" stream.

A young bird roosting atop the floating aquatic plants, serving both as a foothold and fodder.

The many species of wild flowers next to the boardwalk.

The cluster of planted flowers at the entrance to the Park office.

A piggyback drinking fountain, the little one is for the dogs. How thoughtful!

I read about the Creek Trout Park, one of the Six separate parks making up the county owned Wilderness Park complex (previously, we have already been to two of these: Morris Bridge and Flatwoods Parks). That's where we were this morning. This too is equipped with a off-road biking track and walking trails, but we restricted our visit to just taking the short boardwalk that partly runs along the river bank and making a brief stop at the canoe launch site. Enjoy the sights that met our eyes.

The entrance sign beckons.

This was taken at the notice board located in the middle of car park featuring the continuous canoe route linking the various parks.

One of the many picnic shelters in the park. And a trail lies yonder.

A family canoe expedition.

Wify directed this shot, saying that the fallen branch, just touching the water surface, with a couple of sub-branches pointed skyward in an oblique way, constrasts with the multi-tiered tree canopy seen across the river.

Fair warning. I added the Gator-on-Bike shot cut from a shot of another signage on post because it looks cute. Go Gators, beating the Vols 30-6 today!

I counted more than 20 of these catfish-like fish lazing at the river bottom next to the canoe launch facility.

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