A Dump — or Just Rustic?

Suspension bridge.  The original one was built by the CCC in the 30's.

Suspension bridge. The original one was built by the CCC in the 30’s.

campground road

Campground road

After I saw the dirt campground road with the sandy dirt sites, and the 90 degree back-in between two trees, I understood why O’Leno State Park had reservations available.  🙂


It’s rustic. Hope it doesn’t rain.

To be fair, when I chose this site online I didn’t know that it was the hardest one to get into in the park.  There were others that would have been a breeze to back into.

But, by the time I got the Casita situated, I would have left immediately and gone somewhere else — if there had been somewhere else to go.

I had read that there are some really interesting history and features of nature here, though.  So Ron, Sheba and I took off to find some.

no jumping

The sign says “No jumping off bridge.” Just in case you were tempted to. 😀

The nature center and little museum closed at 3:00, so we missed them.  But the little we did see whetted our appetite for more.

I’m especially curious about where the river disappears into a sinkhole and resurfaces again 3 miles farther on.  I read that the places where the river disappears and reemerges are not accessible to vehicles — and I doubt very seriously my arthritic hips could stand a 6 mile round trip hike, but hopefully I can at least see where it disappears.

The town that was on this site, settled in the 1860’s, was originally named Keno.  However “due to ecclesiastical and commercial pressures” the name was changed to Leno in 1876.  O’Leno is from Old Leno.  The town was a bustling commercial success until it was bypassed by the railroad and deteriorated into a ghost town.

1930's CCC work

1930’s CCC work

Tonight my floor feels like a beach.  We leashed Sheba to the trailer steps so she could lie on the mat and not get too dirty.  She promptly decided she preferred to  lie in the sand underneath the trailer.  So much for trying to keep the trailer clean while we are here.  Sheba is a giant sand powder puff.

But after I came to terms with all the dirt, I am glad we came.  The area is beautiful and there is lots to see.

Even though the site is dirt and sand, we do have a nice private front yard.

Even though the site is dirt and sand, we do have a nice private front yard.

I took this picture simply because it is the biggest ugliest tree gall I have ever seen!

I took this picture simply because it is the biggest ugliest tree gall I have ever seen!




  1. At least you won’t need to photograph around hordes of people!

    Virtual hugs,



  2. No matter how bad your campsite gets, don’t jump off the bridge! Hope the weather holds for you, though if it’s that sandy there, any rain probably sinks in immediately.


    • That’s the one thing I console myself with about the sand! But the roads look like a mixture of packed sand and clay.

      Good to “see” you again! 🙂


  3. Jerryc

     /  January 5, 2015

    Beauty is where you find it. Sometimes I find myself dwelling on the negative like rain or sand, then look around and discover a diamond. I think you have just discovered one, too. 🙂


  4. I’d call it rustic but I like rustic. Can’t wait to see what you find around the park.


    • Although Ron’s and my first impression was “dump,” we both have decided it’s nicely rustic now.

      Hope I can shoot some cool photos for you. I LOVED your moon shots!


  5. Love your attitude…finding the good. Just read your previous post…..that’s why we depend so much on the Ocala National forest. It does not have everything but what it does have….makes it all worthwhile.


    • I’m sure we’ll end up there soon. Love those walk-in campsites. Also, it’s a few degrees warmer there.

      I dream of meeting up with you out West someday. 🙂


  6. Rustic gets my vote. I love the CCC parks. Some states sure do seem to have more than others. The stone walls and bridges are a dead giveaway, visually.

    What’s with dogs laying in the dirt, anyway? I know EXACTLY what you’re up against. Throw up your hands and surrender to the Camping Goddess. You are powerless….

    Enjoy your explorations.


    • Ah! Jezzie does it, too? I feel better now! 🙂

      At least Sheba isn’t digging into mole holes– the first 4″ with her nose, followed by paws — like she did at Ocean Pond.


  7. Sorry to hear about your water heater. Better drain it due to coming freeze. We are expecting temps in the teens here in NW Florida later this week so I implemented the drain all water plan in the Ollie. Prolly overkill because all the water lines and tanks are in the insulated basement.

    Your comment about not cooking indoors reminds me of my wife who would not cook in the Casita for the same reason. The Ollie is all fiberglass inside, and she cooks away now.

    Planning a trip to Skidaway Island State Park next month for our first ever visit to Savannah. and may make a stop at Ocean Pond just to experience your favorite campground.

    Thanks for posting the pics. Your work reminds me of my Grandmother Sue Pickett who could find beauty everywhere she went, and had the gift of describing it to others through words

    Be blessed.


    • David, good news. The water heater came back to life. I’ll do an update later toniggt.

      I have drooled over the Ollie for a long time. Fortunately, it’s too much trailer for our 6 cylinder truck, and it’s out of our budget, so I content myself with just admiring them.

      I hope you enjoy Ocean Pond. Not a lot to do there,but it is beautiful and peaceful.

      The comment comparing me with your grandmother is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. Thank you! 🙂


  8. Sharon,

    Long time reader, first time commenter and fellow Casita owner. Regarding the ugliest gall you have ever seen, I call it a beautiful burl. Most all woodworkers would love to cut this from the tree right up against the trunk. When turned on a lathe this burl probably has some of the most beautiful color and grain you have ever seen. Could be made into a gorgeous bowl or serving dish or just for display.

    Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder.

    Ron Hutchison


    • Wow, Ron! That’s another wonderful surprise about this place that I originally labeled a dump. It just keeps surprising me.

      I took another photo today of a gall covered tree. Now instead of seeing it as ugly, I wonder what beautiful patterns and colors are hiding inside.

      So glad you came out of lurkdom. I’m very glad to meet you!


  9. Yep the trade offs. It does look like a great site. Kind of reminds me of our camp at Alexander Springs regarding the tight turns and site access. It was crazy, once we were in the site it was huge, but getting there was like threading a needle and if you saw me thread a needle!!!


    • Make a note to avoid site 6. The other side of the circle has easier access, especially at the wide part of the loop. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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