Take a journey into an old growth swamp forest at Tilley Landing
Driving down the sloping gravel road, I felt the temperature drop slightly, and soon noticed the changes in the flora as I ventured into the swamp forest of the Choctawhatchee River Basin.
About 1.7 miles down, I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland as she tumbled down the rabbit hole.
I finally arrived at the end of the road to Lost Lake; an oxbow-shaped lake filled with old-growth cypress trees and murky calm water. So quiet and peaceful, this place appeared frozen in time.
I felt I was intruding on Mother Nature’s artistry… an exemplary example of a swamp river forest, with the only interruption to this peaceful calm were water bugs, as they skated across the surface of the lake.
The lake hosts an astonishing panoramic view, with towering colossal cypress trees jutting from the water. I could not help but wonder how many years they have stood steadfast and strong in their magnificence.
For the birder in you, Lost Lake is known to researchers and enthusiasts as a place to search for the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker. The old growth forest is the perfect habitat for the bird. For more information about the ivory-billed woodpecker go to: http://www.ivorybill.org/
Tilley Landing has primitive camping facilities, with a portable toilet available near the boat landing. Picnic areas are also available. The lake is most suitable for canoeing, kayaking, or small boats.
Tilley Landing is part of the Choctawhatchee River Wildlife Management Area and managed in cooperation with Northwest Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Lost Lake is a peaceful place to have a picnic lunch, kayak/canoe, fish or bird watch. I regretted not making a box lunch for myself before I journeyed.
From Freeport on SR 20 go east to SR 81 and head north. Go 6.7 miles. You will see the Tilley Landing sign on the right. Take the gravel road 1.7 miles to Lost Lake.
Venture Walton is a feature column for outdoor enthusiasts in Walton County, Florida.
Lori Ceier is the publisher of waltonoutdoors.com, and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org