There is a nasty, reptile and amphibian infested swamp in Grand Park just past the terminus of Stone Branch Parkway. It is ringed by a nearly impenetrable barrier of brush, cactus, and vines. Past that you will find reeds and other marsh plants growing up so thick that it is hard to know where the water ends and the land begins.
I encountered this swamp for the first time near the end of a four hour hike through the park. It was a red hot summer day, and I was spent. I made a few abortive attempts to find a way through the plants, water, and wildlife, but in my used up condition I just wasn’t up to it.
At this point my list of options was short. I could try again to blaze a path through swamp, or I could hike out on a long bypass. The problem was that I was too tired to go through, and I was too tired to go around.
In the end the choice really wasn’t that hard to make. The half mile detour needed to skirt the swamp won out easily over the unknowns in the heart of swamp.
A couple of weeks later I stopped by again, this time on the opposite side of the bog. There I had the good fortune of running into this vividly colored Southern Leopard Frog basking on the banks of a ravine leading to the swamp.