This was no longer a place for man, I realized. Loggers had cut the big swamp trees about eighty years ago and hauled them out with steam locomotives, but young trees gradually filled in the gaps, and the Aucilla bottomlands had become wild again. I only wished the loggers could have left just a few of the original cypress, many of which were hundreds or thousands of years old. These old trees had been Florida’s version of the California redwoods—some grew as wide as dump trucks and as tall as cell phone towers.

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