Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trip 6: San Felasco Hammock, Dudley Farm, and Devil's Millhopper

State parks visited: 7

I was lamenting recently to my best friend/stalker Holly that I was afraid my blog was boring.  It always seems to me that the message is the same: We had a great day spent with great people.  The End.  And honestly, it really does seem like I type that a lot.  But it is true, and I'm happy to share the message.  What is *not* boring is our choice of destination on each outing.  With 160 state parks and countless festivals around us, even if we have a great day with great people, we're doing so at a new and interesting location.  And I'm okay writing about that.

Our destination last Sunday was the city of Gainesville.  Three state parks were all right there, waiting for us.  First stop on the journey: San Felasco Hammock Preserve.  Okay, here is where my smart parenting side joined forces with my lazy inner self:  Instead of doing a 9-or-so mile hike at the northern end of the park, we opted to do the shorter 2.3 mile jaunt on the south side.  Just short enough so that Olivia couldn't complain too much.  Besides, she got to see quite a bit:

A broad-headed skink

Neat looking caterpillar
Scarab beetle

And she managed to keep a smile on her sweet little face:

After San Felasco we headed down the road to Dudley Farm.  It is a working farm, owned by the Dudley family for several generations, and we were free to roam about the property.  The volunteers wear period clothing, too.  It could have been hokey, but they managed to create an interesting learning environment that kept our attention.  We...and I guess I should clarify that 'we' were Rob, Paula, Olivia, Chris, and Danielle...wandered around for a long time.  The map of the property is very informative and I think we had a very good time.

There are 18 buildings on the property, including a tobacco barn, homestead, chicken coop, and outhouse.  It was neat to see a glimpse of how life used to be, when you lived from the land and reaped what you sowed. 

Olivia really enjoyed seeing the animals on the farm, including hens, horses, and turkeys.

I enjoyed the beautiful flowers I found in the garden:

Finally, after a nice picnic lunch provided by Chris and Danielle, we made our way to Devil's Millhopper.  It is a 120-foot deep cavity that is always lush and green, no matter the time of year.  Going through my pictures later, I was surprised that this:

....was taken just a few steps before this:

Our trip down the 232 steps to the bottom was leisurely.  We had no real agenda other than see the sights and enjoy ourselves, and we were doing that well.  The trip back to the top was a bit more labored, being that we were at our 3rd park of the day, we were tired, and there were 232 steps that kept us from making our exit.  A few photo highlights:

And of course, what would trips to 3 different state parks be without stamps?

Okay, here it is.  We had a great time with great people.  I'm sincere about that.  I also have a rare treat:  a photo of all of us, thanks to Rob's camera.  It captures, to me, the essence of our adventures.  And a little bit of pineapple, too.  Thanks to Olivia.

1 comment:

  1. Stalker??? * blink, blink * :D
    I thought everyone stalked their best friends! <3
    To quote one of my favorite tv characters: "Still not boring!" :) I do admire the frankness, openness, and insights of your blog. I agree that having a great day with great people will always be interesting, especially when the locale changes.
    Cheers to another great entry!