Monday, April 23, 2012

Heading Home through High Springs

On our way home we stopped in High Springs, FL, which is home to many nice state parks.  We stayed at a quiet RV park and spent the week hiking with the pups.  O'Leno State Park was our first stop and is known for the Santa Fe River Sink.  From its headwaters at Santa Fe Lake, the Santa Fe River runs 44 miles to a point where it disappears, which is the sink. It reappears three miles away at the Santa Fe River Rise and flows 35 more miles to the Suwanee River.  Because the river flows underground, a natural bridge is formed between the river sink and the river rise.  Divers have discovered and mapped a complex aquatic cave system between the sink and rise giving clues to the mystery of the underground journey.

This was the swimming area in the park on the Santa Fe River.  Note that it is only a roped off area.  A sign posted nearby cautioned swimmers to beware of alligators and swim at their own risk.........

Easy to see why some of the park was not in use due to the drought.

There were several small lakes along the trail with covered moss trees.

This is the Santa Fe River Sink where the river disappears. The water was covered with a green growth because there had been little rain.
More than 900 million gallons of water per day flow underground at the Santa Fe River Sink.

Another small lake that was caused by a sink in the state park.

This is the Santa Fe River Rise, three miles later where the water returns to the surface.

Very serene and beautiful.
 We spent two days in O'Leno State Park.  The second day there we took a 10 mile primitive hike to see where the sink reappeared.  We packed a lunch and stopped at the Rise to eat.  It was a great hike except for all the ticks we picked up along the way.

Another park we visited was Ichetucknee Springs State Park.  What a neat place!  The water is crystal clear with long grasses growing under the water.  They have canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, and other fun things to do.  They also have tubing down the river and, in season, there is a tram that will bring you back to where you started after a 1.5 hour float down the river.  This is a great park to bring the family and have all kinds of fun.

You can see the green grasses in the water

We saw a few people on the river but it was off season so it was quiet.

More pictures we took in the park.

One of my favorites.
Lots of flowers in bloom.

We also spent several days hiking in San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park which wore the pups out and when we weren't doing that we were taking bike rides, too,  so we got in a lot of mother nature and exercise. 

After a week there it was on to Niceville to see the grandkids and celebrate the 4th birthday of our  grandson,  Dane Matthew.  The theme was dinosaurs and he had a great time.  We snapped a few pictures to share:

The birthday boy.

Sister, Madeleine, trying to ride Dane's new bike.  She's two.
Dad trying to demonstrate??????

The dinosaur cake made noises and its eyes flashed red.


Dane thought it was really cool.
Maddie wanted to know why she didn't get a cake......

.....but she still enjoyed eating some of it.
The birthday party in full swing.  Looks like a lot of old people to me.

Grandma's happy girl.

Dane with dinosaur gifts.......
....and planes......
.....and cars.

What more could a 4 year old ask for than a hug from mom.

And then when we thought we were almost done...........well surprise, surprise........our son-in-law just happened to get tickets to the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans.  Since Anthony graduated from the University of Louisville, and Louisville was in the Final Four (we won't talk about Duke), and neither Anthony or Brett had ever been to a Final Four, well what else could they do.  They gassed up the rig on Saturday morning, drove to an RV park near New Orleans, and went to the championship series.

And, of course, it rained like a banshee.

But they got to try a muffaletta which both decided is an acquired taste.

And got to watch an exciting series.

Even though Kentucky eventually won.

And that is the end of our Florida trip.  We are home again trying to get everything done here before we head out on our trip to the West Coast.  Our best to all and we will be in touch with our summer blog which should be out sometime in June.  Peace! 

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