Posts tagged: State Park

Bolen Bluff Trail

By , March 3, 2010 5:04 am

Some spanish moss

Dasy and I both managed to carve out some time yesterday, so we took the opportunity to visit Paynes Prairie.  We’d been trying to get out here for some time, so we just decided to go, even though the weather wasn’t great.  It was windy, overcast and threatening to rain the entire time, but it held out long enough for us to do some exploring.Intertwined

Paynes Prairie is a natural oddity.  It’s part of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, which includes a lot of area beyond the prairie itself.  The “prairie” is not the kind you think of when you think about Little House on the Prairie.  It’s basically a floating mass of plants that pretty much just sits there while the water slowly flows under it.  It’s a pretty strange, but interesting place.  Of course, due to it’s very nature, you can’t exactly go walking around in the prairie.  The Preserve has several good trails that will keep you dry and allow you to do some exploring.  We took Bolen Bluff Trail, Nothing lasts foreveras it’s one I pass almost every day I go to work and I know that it actually goes out into the prairie.

Bolen Bluff is listed as being a 2.5 mile loop.  We took some detours, so probably ended up doing about 5 miles, but didn’t actually complete the loop.  Expect about 3 miles total if you just want to go to the viewing platform and back to the parking area.

The trail starts at in “woods”, which are pretty much the standard Florida old woods, but a bit more “open”.  Florida woods and forests generally get overgrown with brush.  This one doesn’t.  You can see a fair distance and it’s quite open.  A dirt trail is your guide most of the time.  From the parking area, take the left fork if you want to head to the prairie.  Can't we all just get along?

While in the woods, keep your eyes open for deer and horses.  There are a few herds of wild horses on the prairie and they will sometimes come into the woods.  We didn’t actually see the horses on this trip, but there was “evidence” of their passing. 😉

ArmadilloWhile on the prairie itself, we were pleasantly surprised to see an armadillo.  We were even more surprised to see that he wasn’t the “flat” variety most often seen while driving. ;)  He was foraging for something and really couldn’t have cared one bit that were a couple feet from him taking pictures.

Also be on the look out for hawks, bald eagles and sandhill cranes.  We saw a couple hawks and the cranes, and I’ve seen bald eagles here before.

While the prairie is interesting because it’s so different, take the time to explore the scrub and forest areas too.  We didn’t make it to the grass bluff on the other half of the loop, but the woods we did manage to check out were a bit different than the overgrown scrub areas I’ve been accustomed to.

It was a couple hours out of the way for us, but we’re glad we made the effort.  It’s an area worth checking out if you’re anywhere near Gainesville.

Click on any of the pictures to see larger versions.

 Looking back A little flower Prairie pool The walkway Got fern?

Our stay at Pocahontas State Park

By , November 3, 2009 12:26 pm

Note: This was a little over a week ago, we’re catching up on the posts. 😉

IMG_0143.jpgWe uploaded another review of one of the places we stayed, Pocahontas State Park (PSP).  You can find it and all of our place review under the Parks and Places menu above.  There’s a handful of pictures there, but the full set is available on our Flickr page.IMG_0144.jpg

We arrived on a Friday and settled in for a long weekend.  It’s a nice park with good camping facilities and we enjoyed ourselves.  On Saturday, Rany (Dasy’s sister) and her husband, Seth, came out to join us for dinner.  I procured a nice set of steaks and corn on the cob from the local grocery store and we had our first attempt at grilling our dinner.  It rained on and off, so I ended up making a shield of sorts out of tin foil.  It actually worked out really well and the steak turned out fantastic.  The corn could have used a little longer on the grill, but it was still good. 

We stayed outside under our awning talking about friends, family and our upcoming adventures.  All in all, it was a good time and we thoroughly enjoyed our first attempts at “entertaining” in our new home. ;)  It’s a bit small inside, but with the awning and good weather it works out great.

IMG_0141.jpgWe were at PSP for the weekend and planned to leave on Monday.  We got a call on Sunday, however, that one of Dasy’s cousins wanted to buy her car, which we had taken with us and planned to keep in Florida.  So, we extended our stay for another day.  Dasy drove the car to her parents back in Northern Virginia, while I ran some errands and then went up in the Jeep to retrieve her.

Unfortunately, the Jeep decided not to cooperate.  I noticed while driving up I-95 that it was wobbling quite a bit and I frequently had to “over-steer” to correct it’s path.  I’ve had this happen before and am fairly familiar with the cause.  I pulled into a Pilot truck stop to check it out and found I was correct in my assumption…  The main bolt that connects the drag link to the frame had loosened a bit and was allowing the front axle to wander back and forth a little bit.  IMG_0122.jpg

Since all my tools are in storage, I sent a quick email from my cell phone to a bunch of my off-road buddies in Off-Camber Crawlers and continued on my way.  10 minutes later, I had several offers of help from fellow members with tools and garages. :)  I made it without incident to Ed’s place and he promptly went at it with an impact gun and some loctite.  That fixed it right up!  I continued to Dasy’s parents place, had some food and some internet access and we headed back to our “home”, minus one car. 🙂

The next morning, we did some minor exploring of the park, then headed south.

 

 

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