The Devil's Millhopper is a huge sinkhole NW of town. When I asked people earlier what it was, they were like "oh, it's just a big sinkhole..." like sinkholes were simply a way of life. WELCOME TO FLORIDA.
Anyhow, the Devil's Millhopper is a big sinkhole that caved in about 10,000 years ago, and has since filled with a unique variety of plant and animal life. Since the pit is usually cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter, it sustains a more diverse ecosystem, including many plants and animals that are not otherwise found in the area.
I did two laps around the sinkhole, including two trips down to the bottom. It was beautiful, and so quiet you could practically hear the sweat dripping down your back. I saw a ton of stuff including a new type of lizard, a big black snake, a gigantic hornet, tons of ferns, and many gorgeous waterfalls. The place is definitely worth a trip out of town if you're ever in the area.
Walking down inside the sinkhole.
From the loop path around the top of the sinkhole.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Hot enough for you?
I finally ID'ed this one: Butterfly-pea (Clitoria ternatea)
Saw palmetto and Pine woods.
Southern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus undulatus)
Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus)
At the bottom of the sinkhole I found this ENORMOUS hornet, about two inches from snout to tail. It enjoyed posing for me, so I took a bunch of pictures.
Some type of Shelf Fungus.
Waterfalls and rivulets, at the very bottom.
Lastly, I found this guy on my way back up the walkway. Freaky.
(I turned the picture sideways to make him easier to see.)
All in all, not too bad for a couple hours in the woods!