Basiliscus vittatus (juvenile), 21 January 2017

Basiliscus vittatus, the Brown basilisk (juvenile);
Broward county, Florida (21 January 2017).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Aramus guarauna, 07 June 2013

Aramus guarauna, the Limpkin;
Lake county, Florida (07 June 2013).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Pelecanus occidentalis, 11 August 2015

Pelecanus occidentalis, the Brown pelican;
Volusia county, Florida (11 August 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Protonotaria citrea, 10 April 2016

Protonotaria citrea, the Prothontary warbler;
Lake county, Florida (10 April 2016).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

AKtoFL: Alces alces, 31 May 2011

Alces alces, the Moose
Denali Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile ~0245 of 7221).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Though not remarkable having just lived in Anchorage for four years, I was delighted to find a moose chilling out near the entrance of Denali National Park. Back in Anchorage, we’d routinely have them foraging around our yard, neighborhood, and campus. Damn near anywhere, actually… Still, seeing one near the entrance to Denali proper was fitting. So very “Alaska.”

AKtoFL: Alongside the Parks Highway, Alaska (31 May 2011)

Alongside the Parks Highway
Denali Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0219 of 7221).

I remember thinking of the seeming-fragility of utility lines in the rocky climes of Alaska. What a tough place to scratch out an electrified civilization. There’s a reason the vast of majority of Alaska remains undeveloped. 

AKtoFL: The Chulitna River in Alaska (31 May 2011)

The Chulitna River
Denali Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0219 of 7221).

Creeping closer and closer to Denali National Park, here’s another view of the Chulitna River. What a fantastic backdrop, right? 

AKtoFL: The Igloo Lodge in Alaska (31 May 2011)

The Igloo Lodge & Gas Station
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0190 of 7221).

As you trudge north along the Parks Highway from Wasilla to Fairbanks, you’ll eventually pass a funky little building on your right. This is the “Igloo Lodge,” the defunct dream of one Leon Smith, an intrepid developer who spent a significant portion of the latter 20th century gradually building his would-be destination vacation hot-spot just south of Denali. Smith eventually retired his mission in 1996 and, sadly, passed away three years later; the lodge was never completed. Since then, the Igloo Lodge has languished through Alaska’s seasonal turns, biding its time in whatever time it has left on this planet. It would be safe to wager a bet that this is the most-photographed igloo-lodge in Alaska. 

Read more about Leon Smith’s dream and the legacy of the Igloo at Vice.

AKtoFL: Hurricane Gulch, Alaska (31 May 2011)

Hurricane Gulch
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0175 of 7221).

A view of Hurricane Creek from atop one of the two Hurricane Gulch bridges. Residual snow in Alaskan ravines persists deeper into the summer because it’s protected from much of the day’s direct sunlight.  

AKtoFL: Hurricane Gulch, Alaska (31 May 2011)

Hurricane Gulch
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0175 of 7221).

Hurricane Creek is a tributary of the Chulitna River and a deeply-carved facet of Hurricane Gulch. As you head north toward Denali, whether by rail or by automobile, you’ll pass over Hurricane Gulch on one of its two bridges (one for automobiles, the other for trains) — spectacular set of bridges over a spectacularly impressive ravine.

Anisomorpha buprestoides, 08 August 2013

Anisomorpha buprestoides, the Southern two-striped walking stick;
Volusia county, Florida (08 August 2013).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Anisomorpha buprestoides, 08 August 2013

Anisomorpha buprestoides, the Southern two-striped walking stick;
Volusia county, Florida (08 August 2013).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Anisomorpha buprestoides, 08 August 2013

Anisomorpha buprestoides, the Southern two-striped walking stick;
Volusia county, Florida (08 August 2013).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Happy Star Wars Day! 19 December 2019

Alas, today is the day Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker officially hits theaters, the final of the so-called “Skywalker Saga” films. We have our tickets booked for the first screening later this evening. In our family, this is a thang. It’s been a long time coming, so we’re pausing the Floridensis bio-roll today to celebrate the lightsaber mayhem.

Pictured above and below-left are scenes from my 6th birthday party in the late 1970s (back when everything was shaggier and yellower). I’m the Stormtrooper-looking runt; my brother is Luke. As for Leia, that was our friend and neighbor, Jennifer. The original Star Wars (back when it was simply called “Star Wars”) was released in May of 1977. Needless to say, it made quite the impression on our wee little-kid minds and dominated more than a few childhood (and adult) birthday parties in our lives.

As for the fire-and-saber kid featured below, that’s my daughter, Aurelia Zora, rocking the Rey-vibe back in 2016 (after The Force Awakens came out but before The Last Jedi); she was eight at the time, a few clicks older than myself in the stormtrooper gear back in the 1970s. She went straight for the light. I apparently was the one who went straight for the dark side with that pseudo-stormtrooper outfit.

Anyhow, if Star Wars has had a role in your imaginative and fantastical experience of life upon this hurling Starkiller Base we call Earth, I hope you and yours have a fun time with Episode IX. There’s been a depressing torrent of toxic rage within the online/fan communities in recent years, but I try not to pay them too much mind. Life is too short, and there’s much to cherish in the fantastical morality plays Star Wars has given us over the years (along with endless merchandising glory, of course).

If you love it: Awesome!
If you don’t love it: Well, that’s okay, too! 

Okay, let’s do this thing!
Palpatine awaits!
Unlimited Power!

We’ll kick back in with the biota-photo-roll tomorrow.

Thalasseus maximus, 11 August 2015

Thalasseus maximus, the Royal tern;
Volusia county, Florida (11 August 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Calidris mauri, 11 August 2015

Calidris mauri, the Western sandpiper;
Volusia county, Florida (11 August 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Tringa semipalmata, 11 August 2015

Tringa semipalmata, the Willet;
Volusia county, Florida (11 August 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Ophisaurus ventralis, 01 October 2012

Ophisaurus ventralis, the Eastern glass lizard;
Lowndes county, Georgia (01 October 2012).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Ophisaurus ventralis, 01 October 2012

Ophisaurus ventralis, the Eastern glass lizard;
Lowndes county, Georgia (01 October 2012).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Leptuca pugilator, 01 July 2019

Leptuca pugilator, the Atlantic sand fiddler crab;
Flagler county, Florida (01 July 2019).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 20 March 2015

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (20 March 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 20 March 2015

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (20 March 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 20 March 2015

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (20 March 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

AKtoFL: Lupinus arcticus (31 May 2011)

Lupinus arcticus, the Arctic lupine
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0163 of 7221).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

My oh my, how I loved lupine. A tremendously gorgeous plant quite abundant throughout much of Alaska. Its vibrant purples play brilliantly with the surrounding deep greens. 

AKtoFL: Denali State Park, North (31 May 2011)

Denali State Park North
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0163 of 7221).

A zoomed shot of the Alaska range hovering over and blocking the low horizon to the west. Note the sandy drop at the bottom right. A chunk of hill essentially slid downward leaving an exposed mini-cliff of sorts — a common feature in Alaska’s hillier forests. 

AKtoFL: Denali State Park, North (31 May 2011)

Denali State Park North
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0163 of 7221).

A wider angled lens would do this more justice, but here’s Big Sky hovering over Denali State Park, Northern section. Damn near everything felt vast in Alaska — whether the water, the mountains, the forests, or the skies…

AKtoFL: Denali State Park, North (31 May 2011)

Denali State Park North
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0163 of 7221).

A slightly yellower portion of forest at Denali State Park, Northern section. Much of the ground you see here is inundated with seasonal melt, with standing water. The ground can be extremely mushy underfoot, and summertime hiking can be an unpredictable and wet affair. 

AKtoFL: Denali State Park, North (31 May 2011)

Denali State Park North
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0163 of 7221).

A forested view from the edge of Denali National Park (Northern section). People tend to think of gray and white when they think of Alaska, of rocks and snow, but I was always bewildered by the amazing array of greens — in both the summer and the winter. 

AKtoFL: The Parks Highway (31 May 2011)

The Parks Highway
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (31 May 2011).
Day 01 of the 2011 Roadtrip from Alaska to Florida (Mile 0140 of 7221).

Cruising northbound on Parks Highway, headed closer to Denali National Park, I had to stop to simply admire the road and its scenic surroundings. I love Florida, and I’m a Floridian swamprat at heart, but I did enjoy roadcruising Alaska. Absolutely stunning.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 20 March 2015

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (20 March 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 20 March 2015

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (20 March 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 20 March 2015

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (20 March 2015).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Alligator mississippiensis, 11 June 2016

Alligator mississippiensis, the American alligator;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (11 June 2016).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Alligator mississippiensis, 11 June 2016

Alligator mississippiensis, the American alligator;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (11 June 2016).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.

Alligator mississippiensis, 11 June 2016

Alligator mississippiensis, the American alligator;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (11 June 2016).
Learn more about this species at iNaturalist.org.