Rima Ridge in Tiger Bay State Forest, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (02 March 2014).
Yes, it’s been rather overcast and chilly throughout central Florida as of late. Yes, I’ve been rather busy with a number of issues both at home and work. And yes, I’ve still managed to find a few moments here and there to get outdoors — as if in preparation for the inevitable spring thaw.
On Monday 02 March 2, on my way back to Ormond Beach from Orlando, I decided to trek through Tiger Bay State Forest along the Rima Ridge tract. Situated a bit west of Interstate 95, the Rima Ridge tract runs from Highway 92 north to State Road 40, from Daytona Beach to Ormond Beach. Much of this area of Tiger Bay State Forest is managed pine forest.
Back in the 2000s, before we moved to Alaska, I used to frequent Tiger Bay and Rima Ridge because it was a fantastic area to find cottonmouths. Since moving back to Volusia county this past year, however, I haven’t spent much time in Tiger Bay at all. With spring coming soon, I figured this would be a fine day to scout the area out, to see what’s changed, and to orient myself a bit for the oncoming spring and summer rush.
There were certainly plenty of pines and palmettos to be found. There’s no shortage of foliage in Tiger Bay, despite the area being ravaged by the horrific firestorms of 1998 (I can still smell that summer’s sting). One little thing did peak out at me and grab my attention: Deer lichen (Cladina sp.).
Deer lichen, also know up north as Reindeer lichen, is a light, fluffy, moss-like lichen. In Florida, there are apparently several species of Cladina lichen, but I don’t really know enough about them to differentiate between the species. At least not yet. In any case, there were tons of Cladina lichens along the pine rows of Rima Ridge. More than I could count. Definitely something I want to explore further.
With my curiosity just starting bubble over, I found I had to turn and head back to the Jeep in short order. I needed to get home, and this wasn’t really a full-on outing. It was just a quick sojourn on my way home. Still, I saw enough to know that Tiger Bay’s Rima Ridge is definitely a place where I’ll spend some time this spring — especially when the (warmer) rains start kicking. The lichen alone warrants more thoughtful, slowly-paced visits. Now, what kind of snake action might Rima Ridge bring this year…?
Next on Dust Tracks: I do believe it’s time to revisit Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. It’s been far too long.