+5 Daydreaming (mentalageof_4) wrote in florida_parks,
+5 Daydreaming

O'Leno State Park in High Springs, FL

Well, then- here's my contribution as a new member. It seems a little overly chatty because I copied and pasted most of it straight out of my personal blog. O'Leno State Park is an interesting place because the Santa Fe River runs through it, and mysteriously dissappears underground for 3 miles before re-emerging. This was from the weekend of Oct. 12, 2006. No mosquitos, but plenty of chiggers! This trip was made with my son and daughter, (whose names crop up in the commentary).

Below is the fine handiwork of the CCC, a suspension bridge built in the 1930s.

They also built a log camp-meeting structure. It seems amazing that this has survived the threat of termites for all these years, but back then, they used heart-of-pine, and let me tell you, that stuff is HARD! The house I used to own in College Park was built in the 1940s out of that stuff and you couldn't even drive a nail into it. It was hard to drill a hole, even! Anyway, looks like a great place for a family reunion or a wedding if you ask me.

According to the informational signs, there are piles of rocks in the Santa Fe River because way back in the late 1800s, locals used to dam up the river in places to facillitate their mills' water wheels. Over time, weather conditions sort of collasped the dams as you see here. It sure is pretty.

Below, you can see the actual river in the distance, but close up is a little water-filled hollow and some cypress knees. This was off the hiking trail, which *of course* Matt kept insisting we leave for the woods proper. So, we had to keep going down into 20 foot deep hollows to explore, and that little poop kept saying, "Don't worry, there's steps leading down there!" Steps my ass! He meant strategically positioned tree roots. Actually, Gracie didn't fall once, so I was glad about the whole thing.

Matt and I had a big debate about this. Vee's husband Bruce kept going into the woods to forage for dead wood (for the campfires) and came back with this log. I say those are lichens, Matt says mushrooms. What do you think?

Matt only brought one fishing pole, but he did bring his tackle box. He loves to fish. Gracie just likes to collect feathers and shells. (Yes, there were mollusk shells there.)

He caught this miniature fish and would've thrown it back, but the hook was caught in an unfortunate place, and it would have died anyway. He filleted it because he felt bad that the fish was going to die regardless. I guess his thought was, there's more dignity in becoming dinner than rotting in the river. Huh. That's what the aliens in 'Mars Attacks' thought, too. Got the equivalent of two fish sticks to add to dinner.

Vee and crew arrived without fishing gear the next day, since they barely had time to pack. Matt to the rescue! He had a bunch of spare line and hooks in his tackle box, so he devised a mess of homemade "cane poles" for the other kids. Here's Wiley holding up Corey's pole, made from a lure they found on the ground and a saw palmetto branch stripped of its leaves:

And Corey actually caught a fish with it! He was so proud. I wish I knew what species it was...

Gracie suggested we try cooking our bacon wrapped in tin foil. Guess what? It doesn't work. The covered pan is, believe it or not, biscuits. They come out great made this way, as there's a littler pan inside the big pan which makes the whole thing act as an oven. You just can't have a camping trip without cooking a little spam. It's as American as baseball, apple pie and imperialism. Here's my proof that I'm a patriot in good standing:

I know the last picture didn't exactly fall under the scenery heading, but I'm trying not to put too many in any one post. Next up is critters.

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