Have you ever felt a true sense of accomplishment? Coupled with adventure, intrigue...and pirates? I won't divulge too many details of the pirate adventure I am speaking of, since we plan on taking part in it again at a later time. However, I will tell you this: It led us to Lake Louisa State Park on Saturday. And while we achieved our goals of being out of the house and getting a stamp in our book, we achieved far more than that.
Lake Louisa is the largest of 6 lakes in the park, which is located in Clermont. Some of you may remember our last trip, in which I took Olivia to pick blueberries in Clermont. Same city, just several miles...and a whole world...apart. Just driving through the gates and down the winding roads was breathtaking. Florida is mostly flat, right? Well, in Clermont, we're treated to rolling hills and stunning vistas. It is the closest thing Floridians have to mountains, if you don't count Space, Splash, and Thunder.
Our first stop on the adventure was the shoreline. Here we completed the requirements for an earthcache. We wandered around as well, assessing the picnic areas and water recreations. There are different types of camping available at the park, and coming back for a stay is now a definite consideration of ours. And for a Saturday afternoon in the hot Florida summer, the lake wasn't crowded at all.
Pretty soon we were ready to get down to the business of our visit....arrggh, matey! We loaded up our gear and hit the trail for a hike. We did some geocaching as well, and ran into the 'locals' quite often:
A few other trail highlights:
That last picture did not appear to be a victim of any nefarious tortoise-cide. In fact, we came across 5 or 6 sets of bones while hiking, and even more burrows. It appears the park is quite popular with gopher tortoises, however, the only wildlife we saw was a squirrel.
So, again without getting into specifics, we came to the point where we attempted to reap great rewards in a pirate adventure. The solution to the grand puzzle was solved, and you would have thought Rob and I won the lottery, we were so giddy. Our excitement was short-lived, since we were unfortunately not the first to reach the solution, but it was also not replaced with sadness. In fact, we came away with a great sense of pride. We did it, and on our own merits. And that, to me, is extremely exciting as well.
Confused yet? Moving on....
And so after our adventure we did some more geocaching and hiking:
That last picture falls into the category of taking pictures of people who aren't there. In this case, Rob has his arm around an imaginary Chris, who was unable to join us due to a recent injury. It was weird not having him there, for sure. We did keep him updated on our mission, though, and it was great knowing we had someone we could trust and share our excitement with.
Pretty soon we were back at the car and ready to call it a day. The sun was getting low on the horizon and we were all hungry. Before leaving, though, we made a tour of the park grounds and saw the different camping areas. There are some new cabins with a gorgeous view of Dixie Lake, and I'd consider spending a relaxing weekend hanging out there.
Lake Louisa State Park is now so many things to me, and foremost it is a place to return to. We had a great adventure there. And while we did not reach the goal we were aiming for, I think we veered off course and reached one much higher. We had fun together as a family. We shared an experience that brought a twinkle to our eyes and laughter to the quiet surrounding us. We didn't fail...we just succeeded at something else.