Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fun in the Sun

This past Friday hubby and I left the house with cameras in hand, off to discover changes that have taken place since our last trek through the outer reaches of New Orleans East.

One of the stops we made was the Bayou Sauvage Ridge Trail on Highway 90 (Chef Menteur Highway). This nature trail reopened last August after being completely flattened by Katrina.

click on pictures for a larger size

The ridge trail boasts bathroom facilities as well as a covered picnic area.

The boardwalk runs about a mile through what used to be lush swamp growth. Currently the land surrounding the boardwalk is in rebirth stage which is pretty lush for its size.

Along the boardwalk there are benches to allow the visitor to relax and contemplate the peaceful surroundings. I wouldn't recommend contemplating too long in the summertime.

The boardwalk comes to an overlook section that illustrates just how much damage the inundation of salt water from Katrina caused. This was once an area covered with native cypress trees.

But the people at the Wildlife and Fisheries have replanted hundreds of new cypress trees in this area. Everywhere you see a blue tube, you're looking at a baby cypress tree.

Leaving the overlook, we head back to the boardwalk. Taking the right at the fork, we are now passing through an area with different types of flora.

These trumpet flowers grow on vines on the trees. This beautiful flower attracts butterflies as well as hummingbirds. We noticed a few butterflies during our trek thru the ridge trail. But what we noticed was the number of grasshoppers during our visit there. All along the boardwalk we could see and hear the grasshoppers flying around. Hubby got a great shot of one of the grasshoppers resting here.

While looking at the ground on either side of the boardwalk, my husband spied what appeared to be some sort of vine growing freely in this area.

Some of the vine had this flower attached to it, while other had fruit

Upon closer inspection, the fruit appears to be watermelon!

The swamp melon is growing for a good 1/2 mile along the boardwalk. The fruit is small, probably due to the lack of rain and the heat, but it's growing nonetheless.

While looking at this, I was reminded of the phenomenon of the watermelon growth after the storm.

Watermelon growth was spontaneous after Katrina hit this area four years ago. I'm thinking that the watermelons in the Bayou Sauvage Ridge Trail is related to the other watermelon surge after Katrina.

The Ridge Trail is a great way to spend an hour or so if you're looking to be a tourist in your own backyard. And it's free. Can't get any better than that. We plan to revisit this area after summer's over to gauge the rebirth of this precious resource.

It's a great spot for birding as well. Here's a link to what birds can be seen, as well as directions to the Ridge Trail. Enjoy!

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