Knobby Knees

Giant cypress knees and tree bases

Giant cypress knees and tree bases

Today was one of those days when plans just don’t work out.  Ron woke up coughing, sneezing — and grumpy!  🙂

More giant cypress knees

More giant cypress knees

Instead of hitting the museum, we took it easy most of the morning.  Read a bit.  Walked the dogs.  Cleaned the trailer.  I discovered some real surprises when I cleaned the refrigerator.

If you have a small camper refrigerator, you know how it is.  There’s not enough room to put away the groceries, so stuff gets piled on top of stuff, and the things in the back disappear from memory.

More cypress knees.

More cypress knees. It occurred to me that if the limestone underneath did cave in, the ground would probably still be supported (for a while) by all the cypress roots.

I discovered an almost liquid yellow squash in the abyss along with a brown-spotted cabbage.  And several styrofoam take out containers.  When I finished, the refrigerator had been scrubbed and sanitized.  Half of the stuff was thrown out, and I can find the things that are left.

This was the last of our perfect outdoor days for a while.  It got up to 67 with sunny skies.  Sheba and I walked down to the day use area and just meandered around admiring the cypress swamps, the river, the sunshine, and the incredible aura of peace that pervaded the area.

Flood level marker (I accidentally cut off the top mark),  A sign said that it generally floods like that about 4 times a decade.

Flood level marker (I accidentally cut off the top mark). A sign said that it generally floods like that about 4 times a decade.

Then I came back and grilled ribs.  Ron was recovered enough to enjoy the ribs, so he’ll be fine tomorrow.

It’s going down to 24 tonight, and tomorrow’s high will be in the mid 40’s.  So it remains to be seen what we will feel like doing outdoors.  It looks to me like it would be a great novel-reading day.

We will eventually get to the museum.  Manana!  (Which I have been told does not mean “tomorrow,” but “not today.”)   🙂

Classic CCC construction

Classic CCC construction

Limestone outcroppings

Limestone outcroppings

Rock remainders of one of the mill dams

Rock remainders of one of the mill dams

Nature doesn't miss an opportunity to fill a vacuum.  Here a new little shrub or tree grows out of a knothole on a fallen tree.

Nature doesn’t miss an opportunity to fill a vacuum. Here a new little shrub or tree grows out of a knothole on a fallen tree.

 

I have often seen old trees down by rivers covered with resurrection ferns.  But this was the first time I had seen the ferns just beginning to colonize a tree trunk.

I have often seen old trees down by rivers covered with resurrection ferns. But this was the first time I had seen the ferns just beginning to colonize a tree trunk.

Little Sunny.  Almost blind, almost deaf, and with severe arthritis.  He walks until he bumps into something then heads the other way undaunted.  He still love sniffing trails, eating, and getting under his chin scratched.  :)

Little Sunny. Almost blind, almost deaf, and with severe arthritis. He walks until he bumps into something then heads the other way undaunted. He still loves sniffing trails, eating, and getting under his chin scratched. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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.  🙂

rustic

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!

 

 

Cold, windy day at Indian Springs State Park

Ron and Sunny near the spring house

Today was chilly with cold wind, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside.

We did get out and look around the park.  There is much history here, but I’m not energetic enough to type it all out this evening.  The stone buildings, as is common in state parks in the region, were built by the CCC under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The swimming and boating areas are beautiful.  Picnic shelters and areas are very

The spring house

The spring itself with a whopping 1 gallon per minute output 🙂

Swimming/boating area

Picnic tables near the spring

One of the picnic pavilions

Playground near the swimming beach

More of the stone buildings built by the CCC

attractive, and there is a nice playground for children, as well as miniature golf and a museum in season.  Unfortunately, it’s not in season now.  🙂

The spring, touted (and marketed) in the past as having medicinal powers, puts out an underwhelming one gallon per minute year round.  Even so, in the early 1820’s, the area grew into a resort community.

An illegal treaty that dispossessed the Creek Indians of their Georgia lands was signed here, as was a later legal treaty.

According to park literature, the mineral spring has been open to the public since 1825, making it the oldest state park in the nation.  But there is also a warning in the brochure that the water is not potable!

 

 

F. D. Roosevelt State Park in Georgia, II

Registration building at FDR State Park built by CCC

Registration Bldg. & Gift Shop built by CCC

We had originally planned to stay here three nights.  But it is so beautiful that we have extended our stay an extra two days.  So we will be here until Monday.

I am especially enjoying the old stone buildings that were built by the CCC back in the 1930’s.  Dad had a lot of stories about his time working for them before he went into the Marine Corps during WWII.  I think he said that he got $25.00 a month, and sent $20.00 of it home to his parents.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park Office Building

FDR State Park Office Building

What is amazing is that the stone work was built with no tools other than shovels and pickaxes.

It stormed yesterday and last night, but today ended up sunny and beautiful.  It’s cooler this evening, though.  It is expected to get down  into the 30’s tonight.

Because it was so chilly, we decided that we needed a camp fire.  I had almost forgotten how wonderful they are on cold nights.  So relaxing.  Odd how a fire mesmerizes and induces such a peaceful, reflective state of mind.

Window view

View behind our site

our camp fire

Our camp fire

Ron pouring coffee among tiki torches, kerosene lantern, and camp fire

Ron pouring coffee surrounded by tiki torches, a kerosene lantern, and the camp fire

The park is filling up tonight.  But our site is on a curve in the road, and spaced so that we don’t have anyone close to us on either side.

We decided not to put up our screen room this trip.  The cooler weather means there aren’t many bugs around.  And if it rains, we can take advantage of the picnic pavilion behind our site.

Juniper Springs, Florida

Juniper Springs Pool

Juniper Springs Pool

Juniper Springs seaweed

Juniper Springs seaweed

We arrived at beautiful Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest on March 18th.

When I first saw the spring’s swimming pool, I thought that it needed to be cleaned because there was a lot of “seaweed” on the bottom.  Then, as Ron and I walked toward the concession area we passed a sign that explained the “weeds.” (See below.)  And after I took these photos, several whooping teenagers cannonballed into the water.  (By the way, the “stuff” on the surface that looks like flotsam is actually rippled reflections.  The water is pristine.)

Juniper Springs Information

Juniper Springs Information

Old mill by spring

Old mill by spring

When we arrived at the campground, I had expected to have electric and water hookups — but I hadn’t read the description closely enough.  There were no hookups, and we were booked for 4 days.

It wasn’t a big deal.  We needed some practice camping without hookups since I dream of doing extensive boondocking someday. We had replaced the lights with superbright LED’s, so they used only a miniscule amount of power.  There was plenty of battery power for lights, the water pump, fan, and most of the essentials.  We could charge the laptop and cell phones from the house batteries. If I had thought there was a chance we would be without hookups, I would have brought the solar panel along, though.

The only things we couldn’t use were the air conditioner, microwave and electric heater.  The air conditioner was no problem.  The weather was chilly!  No microwave was a minor inconvenience.  But no electric heat was a problem, because Ron had forgotten to bring our catalytic heater!  So we made a run into Silver Springs to look for another one.

Juniper Springs concession area

Juniper Springs concession area

Since winter was past we doubted that we would be able to find one anywhere in stock.  But Walmart had one lone Coleman Blackcat heater left.  It had obviously been returned and was missing some of the packing.  But when we took it back to the camper and fired it up, the gentle heat it produced was heavenly!

We were originally assigned a campsite in the oldest section of the campground.  Our site was spacious and I was happy with it.  But there were a couple of big rigs in that loop that ran their generators nonstop.  It really detracted from the ambiance of quiet camping in the woods!

On our second day a ranger came by and said we would have to move.  A tree in front of our site was leaning and was subject to fall at any moment.

I wasn’t thrilled about having to move.  But it worked out well, because the second site was much larger, more private, and there were no generators back there!

My blog header photo of Ron was taken in the second site.

New catalytic heater

New catalytic heater

We spent our days walking the trails, picnicking at the concession area, and visiting with other campers.  One of the guys had a 1969 Corvair motor home and gave us a tour.  He said their national rallies draw around 15 units.  We also met another Aliner owner–a very nice couple from New Jersey.  And we met a former Aliner owner at the dump station!  They had moved up to a motor home.

We also chatted with another couple in a tent that we thought might have been homeless.  But we didn’t want to pry.

And we endured a couple more days of cold and rain that made us feel like we were back home again!

We saw several canoers.  We were tempted to rent a canoe, but were on a fairly tight budget.  With Ron’s Senior Pass, we were only paying $10.00 a night to camp.  It cost $33 to rent a canoe.  So we stuck to walking and taking photos!

One of the most interesting features in the little creeks around the spring are numerous “boils.”  The sand roils, scouring out white circular clearings on the bottom.  It’s caused by water erupting through cracks in the underlying limestone.  Somewhere we read a sign saying that acid rain is causing the limestone to break down at an increased rate.  I imagine that would mean that the number of sinkholes in Florida will increase, too.

Juniper Springs canoers

Juniper Springs canoers

Juniper Springs boil

Juniper Springs boil

This old stone bridge was built by the CCC back in the 30’s.  A nearby sign states that the bridge itself is still structurally sound.

Since this post is getting way too long, I’ll post the rest of my photos without comment.

I apologize for the photo layout.  I’m just learning how to use the software and the photos don’t appear where I think they will.

Trail entrance

Trail entrance

Blue skies!

Blue skies!

Juniper Springs Trail

Much of the trail around the camp is boardwalk

Intriguing old stump

Intriguing old stump

Pantry overflow

Pantry overflow!

%d bloggers like this: