Bradberry Lake Loop Trail

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Review

Bradberry Lake Trail (may also be signed Bradbury) offers an interesting visit to a lush wetland and series of ponds that are located on thinly covered serpentine soils. From the Airfield Forest the upper trailhead for Bradberry Lake begins a short one-third mile steep climb on an old jeep grade. At the top, the trail breaks out of the forest onto a small open valley studded with lakes and wetlands. The trail passes between the two largest ponds though the one to the north may only be seasonal, shrinking during the hot dry summer months. Tracks in the lakeside mud reveal that hoofed and pawed wildlife visit this lake, in some cases for food not just water.

The surrounding forest trees appear somewhat stunted an indication of the effects of serpentine soils. Lush grasses which enjoy the sunny exposure around the lakes seem to flourish and include species that are normally found near sea coasts where their salt tolerance is also an advantage. Typically such a setting would seem to be attractive to fish hunting raptors. Possibly the lake’s fish are somehow deficient for the hunter’s needs or the snags and trees are not attractive perches. Whatever the reason, it isn’t common to find osprey or eagles here but it’s always worth looking.

The lake water is left for the wildlife and not intended for human consumption so on especially hot days you may come upon a swimmer or two seeking a refreshing rinse. They’ll have to be hardy and tolerant water-lovers however because the deep mucky bottom and abundant aquatic animal life makes entering and leaving the lake a messy experience. If left undisturbed, a look below the surface at the shoreline will sometimes reveal interesting life forms, many only one stage of an aquatic-terrestrial-air borne cycle.

After enjoying your visit to the lake it would be easiest to return the way you came, back down the trail to the Airfield Forest. To continue on the Bradberry Lake Loop however some navigating skills may be required beginning at the lake itself. With few signs or indicators of the correct path to follow, you may be uncertain as you encounter intersections with other abandoned road spurs. A map, compass, and even a GPS would certainly be a benefit. After a little more than a mile the trail intersects the Airfield Trail a half mile downhill from your start at the upper trailhead. If more exploring is what you desire then heading west will soon bring you to the Cypress Mainline not far from another trailhead, this one for Cypress Lake.

Though neither large nor dramatic, Bradberry Lake and its loop trail offer an interesting exploration of a distinctly different habitat on the greatly varied terrain and ecology of Cypress Island.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 3/9/2010

Directions

The upper Bradberry Lake trailhead is just a short distance to the west of the Airfield Forest near the center of Cypress Island. Look for the trailhead sign on the south side of the Airfield Forest Trail (which connects with the Cypress Mainline about 3/4 miles farther to the west).

Map

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