Home > dogs, hitchhiking, travel > Spring Break 2010 part 3 (the journey home)

Spring Break 2010 part 3 (the journey home)

We pulled out of Ft Meyers and headed North. This was Tuesday so we still had some time for some exploration. We detoured over to the Ocala National Forest and took a random hike up a forest service road. The trees were pretty shrubby and from the looks of the logging trucks they have a pretty short rotation on the cuts. Nonetheless it was nice to be out of the van and hiking in the woods. Again i was struck with how much less life was present here than in some of the areas. It just seemed like it wasn’t a fully functioning bio-system, like there were pieces missing. It was pretty though pine and hardwoods with lots of tropical plants. Looks like a nice place for free winter camping should i ever get the chance.

Spring was definitely in the air though. There was some very pretty wildflowers and the red buds were doing there thing. We thought we were gonna break our streak of incredible wildlife viewings that had been going on as long as we could remember but we saw a couple of elk as we were heading out of the woods. I didn’t think there were elk in FLA but seeing was sort of believing. A little research showed Elk are not native to FLA but 6 were released after a TV show, but not in our area. The elk we saw were by a fence so they were probably not wild at all. Sometimes seeing is not believing.

Coming up I-75 GPS sent us off and on an exit but we came out of that with a hitchhiker. He was pleasant enough but not really going anywhere, seemed more like a mobile panhandler than someone trying to get somewhere or even just wandering. We passed on the hints for a handout and took him up to Lake City where there were three other dudes trying to hitch north on that exit. Tough world.

We got a room in Tallahassee and decided to do a little side treking and then driving through the night rather than just drive and sleep for two more days without time to do anything. We took 319 South which runs along the Apalchicola National Forest. We stopped for a hike at Leon Sinks, a geological site highlighting sink holes and swamp lands. It was very cool, especially the disappearing streams and dogs were allowed on the trails so it was fun. Not a lot of wildlife viewing though beyond some squirrels.

From there we drove south to the Gulf and then west along the coast. We stopped and took the dogs to an isolated beach which they got a big kick out of. The water was cold for swimming.

Then we drove and drove. We stopped for some good barbecue in Alabama, dozed a bit, but mostly kept the wheels turning all the way home Thursday morning. Our only excitement was some heavy rain in st louis with a multi-car pile up right in front of us. Our luck held and we weaved our way through the wreckage to make ourselves home.

All in all it was a good trip. I would like to go back. The hitchhiker says you can still swim with manatees in the Crystal River, winter camping in the national forest would be cool and i would like to go back to the everglades with a bicycle (its so flat there) and a canoe (perhaps some back country camping or a long float trip). So didn’t get to check if off, my list of places to go never seems to shrink but just gets bigger and bigger the more i learn.

Categories: dogs, hitchhiking, travel
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