07 Jan 2006 Saturday

It was very windy last night at Three Rivers, but the wind has died down this morning.  We can see the sun beginning to turn the sky red-orange in the east. *POW* Huh?  What was that?  *POW* *POW* Gunshots?  Is there hunting close by?  *POW* *POW* *POW* *POW* *POW* Haven’t they killed that critter yet?  The gunfire continues. It seems that there must be a firing range somewhere nearby.  We heard lots of different guns being fired for the next two hours.  We have our breakfast and head back to Florida Caverns.  

At Florida Caverns State Park we find out that part of the caverns are flooded, so it’s a short tour. Andrew and I have both done wild caves (not public tours, but going in with your own gear) in the past.  We were surprised at the large number of formations they have for such a small cave.  We took a short walk around the park and headed to Torreya State Park next.

Torreya State Park is named for an extremely rare species of Torreya tree that only grows on the bluffs along the Apalachicola River.  A blight in the 1960’s nearly wiped this species of conifers out.  We toured the Gregory House, a plantation home that was built in 1849 and our tour guide told us several stories about feeling spiritual activities in the house.  Stories about curtains moving and toys being moved and foggy images showing up in photos that weren’t there when the pictures were taken.  We found out that the park also has some backpacking campsites available.  We haven’t been backpacking yet, so we register for a site and get our gear together.  There are two sites rather close (we don’t have the daylight for a long hike in), Rock Bluff is overlooking the Apalachicola River and Rock Creek is on a small creek leading into the river.  Both of these sites are not really “primitive” by our standards.  Rock Bluff has a porta-potty near the camp sites and both have a huge cache of firewood cut and prepared by the forest service.  We are not allowed to gather and burn downed wood here (understandable with rare endangered trees around), so we partake of the firewood and have a nice warm fire at Rock Creek campsite.  Once again, we have the place to ourselves.

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