As I was soaking up the serenity of nature, I was amazed at how quiet it was considering the proximity to busy civilization. Natural areas within the city limits are a great respite from the city, but they often can’t escape the noise of the city. Somehow this park did and it was nice to fully immerse myself in the surroundings without the distractions of civilization.
The park is named Apoxee Park. Apoxee (pronounced Ah-po-ee) means Beyond Tomorrow in the Miccosukee language and is the first of the City of West Palm Beach’s urban wilderness parks. Unique to the park is they use the wetlands to provide a new water supply (maximum 10 million gallons per day) in order to achieve both urban and environmental water sustainability.
From the parking lot, the trail is paved and shortly after provides two options; a paved loop or a dirt path to the right. The paved portion is a short loop through pine and oak trees. If you go in the late afternoon, you’ll hear the calls of the Great Horned owls echoing through the trees. I was lucky to actually see and photograph both of them. It is amazing that such a large, majestic bird can fly so silently.
You can walk the paved path in about ten minutes or so depending on if the owls are there. The dirt path is a much longer trail that is suitable for hiking and biking.
The dirt path is narrow and tree lined with occasional openings to catch a glimpse of the water. A boardwalk here and there provides unobstructed views of the lakes. Benches are strategically placed along the way to sit and enjoy the view of the water or just enjoy the sunshine. One of these benches amidst some trees was the perfect lunch spot.
Shortly after crossing the power line road, the trail forks and fortunately there is a big sign and a map. I took the right loop and found a long L – shaped boardwalk that traverses one of the lakes. Throughout the water is a variety of plant life that provides a carpet like covering on the bottom. The plant life is so thick in areas, it looks like small canyons under water. Most rivers in the area have tannin (decaying plant material) so the water isn’t clear. Here the water is crystal clear and all the fish, plants and other inhabitants were visible.
The boardwalk dead ends into another tree lined dirt trail which is flat, straight and the perfect place to ride a bike. According to the map this trail stretches for few miles if not more. On the other side of this trail is another lake full of lily pads, birds and trees. The serene view, gentle wind through the trees, and warm sun made for perfect place to just relax. A strategically placed bench was the perfect place to hang out and enjoy the view.
According to the map, the trails extend for many more miles so I’ll be back with my bike to continue exploring and will provide an update. Apoxee park is a nice oasis for a gentle walk, a medium hike, biking, or birding all right in the middle of town.
Here’s a short video of the boardwalk: http://youtu.be/THrKrn9iRRg:
For more info on the park: www.wpb.org/park/apoxee-park/