In the winter you can spot dozens of large alligators sunning along the banks of the marsh, but since temperatures here are still in the 90s, they stayed cool underwater and we only saw a few. But we did see a ton of Gulf Fritillary butterflies, including the pair above.
While we chose the La Chua trail, Paynes Prairie is a large state park and has a variety of entry points and trailheads. You really can't go wrong (there are bison and wild horses!) and we will be featuring more of the prairie in future posts.
You can get more info about Paynes Prairie here, but for now here are a few highlights from our hike.
When you reach the La Chua trail there is a wooden boardwalk that takes visitors over the marsh. Ellison says that this was her favorite part because she could easily see the alligators, turtles and birds that were nearby. This baby gator captured the attention of everyone on the boardwalk.
It was full noon sun when we went and, because it's a prairie and there is no shade, it was really hot. And muddy. And all rooted up by hogs. But it was beautiful and totally worth walking out to the platform, even if it did mean we got covered in mud.
The mud actually worked in our favor because it kept people away from the
overlook and we had it all to ourselves. Ellison and I spent about 15 minutes just enjoying
the view, listening to croaking bullfrogs and watching a water moccasin glide across the marsh.
Did you know that moccasins are easy to spot because their bodies ride so high on the water? I didn't.
Just a little snake FYI.
But once dry and in the car we both thought the rain was great and that it had actually added
something really fun to the trip.