06 Jan 2006 Friday

A beautiful morning in the woods.  As we drove out this time the road was clear of water, but the surrounding areas were still quite wet.  We saw a picnic area on the Blackwater River that was completely underwater earlier.  We headed east on I-10 to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park.  This is a natural spring that, at some time in its’ past, has been partially dammed up to create a swimming hole fed with spring water.  There are different levels and steps leading into the water that is a beautiful clear spring green with little fishes swimming in it.  Cypress trees surround and are inside of this cute swimming hole.  It’s winter and no one is here, but it’s not hard to imagine this little park teeming with activity during the summer.  

We head next to Falling Waters State Park to see Florida’s highest waterfall.  The waterfall is actually dropping 70 feet into a sinkhole.  The park is riddled with sinkholes, we saw maybe 8 or 10 in the area of a few hundred feet.  This waterfall had lots of ferns and mosses growing along the sides of the sinkhole.  Once again, it’s winter, one of the coldest days we’ve had so far, and we have the park to ourselves.

Our next destination is Florida Caverns State Park for a night of camping.  OOPS!!  Florida Caverns Campground is flooded.  The nearest park with camping is Falling Waters (where we just came from) or Three Rivers State Park, 30 minutes east of here.  Since we are now limited on time, we decide to head to Three Rivers to camp for the night and then come back and see the caverns.  While looking at a state park guide, we saw Torreya State Park on our way that has a furnished plantation house from the 1800’s that is and open for tours.  This might be an interesting stop, so we add it to our list.

Three Rivers State Park has a nice big lake (Lake Seminole).  There are a few people here, but I’m sure summer is their big season.  The wind off the lake is very cold so we decide to eat out.  We haven’t really eaten out much on this trip, instead cooking on a two burner propane  stove on the tailgate.  Of the only three restaurants in town, Pappy Tom’s is a pizzeria, Parramore’s is catfish and seafood, and Dairy Queen we didn’t really consider a restaurant.  So we chose Parramore’s and had some really great catfish.  Now for a hot shower and a warm sleeping bag.

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