Floridian Flora and Fauna

I may not be getting in much studio time lately, but I am getting out and about to explore my new home state.  It's not even officially summer yet, but it's already getting wretchedly hot during the day time, so we try to limit out outdoor adventures to short jaunts or morning/evening adventures.  A few days ago my hubby and daughter and I visited Alexander Springs in Ocala National Forest.  I've never seen anything quite like it...a crystal clear lake of cool, fresh water bubbling up from a deep underwater spring. Most of the water was very shallow--perfect for Ava to wade in and chase little minnows and the temperature (a constant 72 degrees) was a very refreshing treat on a day in the 90's.  Encircling the springs is a mile-long nature walk the winds through mature palms, cedars, and pines.  We were able to see lots of dragonflies, spiders in webs, squirrels, and even a pile of bear scat. Thankfully, no bears.  Although we could hear some gators in the distance making their grunts and growls.  It's really beautiful and I'm sure we'll go back soon.  I just love exploring new places!  Very inspiring....
My lovies.

View of the springs from the nature walk.

Isn't this unique?  It's tree root that has grown out of the ground and right back into it.  Clearly a fairy portal, right?  :)