Exploring Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Tuesday February 19th 2019

It was a better day than the forecast. The temperature was in the mid seventies and it didn’t rain. The day started cloudy and ended cloudy but the sun was bright in the sky during the middle of the day. The bad weather is staying north of here.

Panorama of Paynes Prairie from the observation tower near the visitor centers.

I set out on my bicycle to explore this part of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. There are other parts that you need to enter from other directions that I’ll get to another day. This morning I road my bike about a mile and half further into the park to the visitors center. It resides on the southwestern edge of the prairie. A number of hiking trails depart this location that I will explore in the next few days. Today I walked a short loop trail and climbed the fifty foot high observation tower.

The view from the tower is vast. The large birds flying about the prairie are easy to see, but trying to make out detail is difficult. I needed my binoculars. Another person on the observation platform with binoculars declared that there was a bison standing in the water to the left of the tower. All I could make out was a little brown dot a half a mile or more away. I took a picture at 12x maximum optical zoom of my point and shoot camera to get a better look. I still needed to do some cropping and digital zooming to really see the bison. The full story of why there is a small herd of bison here is still a mystery to me. That is just one of the many things about this park I hope to learn in the next ten days.

View of a bison at 12x magnification. The brown dot in the middle of the picture is really a bison.
Cropped version of the previous picture showing the bison.

Late this afternoon I was back on my bicycle for a ride to Lake Wauberg. A boat launch and picnic area are about half a mile from the campground. My hope was to catch the sunset over the lake, but the clouds were too thick. The clouds also mean I won’t be able to see the full moon tonight.

Water Flower Blossom of the day.

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