Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trip 53: Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

State Parks visited:  45

I was going to subtitle this entry 'Camp Innu-Weekend,' and for good reason.  It turns out Rob and I...and all of our friends...are essentially teenage boys trapped in adult bodies.  If given a chance to add an off-color or slightly perverted comment, out of Olivia's earshot, of course, we do.  And so I feel the need to preface this entry that if you're easily offended or prone to prudishness, then please stop reading now and go find another blog to read.

Camp Innu-Weekend began when, right before Halloween, we decided to just go camping somewhere.  Somewhere ended up being Gold Head, as it's commonly referred to (insert Beavis and Butthead-esque giggling here), which is two hours north of home.  And that's what started it all.  Our research showed us Campsite 69 was available (giggle), and we booked it.  We packed up as quickly as we could after work Friday and set up camp in the dark.

After a healthy sausage breakfast on Saturday morning... :D...we took a tour of Chris's new gigan-tent (which has since been christened 'Camelot').  It has room for 8, a covered porch (which his car will actually fit under), a wine cellar, veranda, and Jacuzzi out back!

We made a quick stop in town for ice and snacks, and then we decided to hit the trails.  One of the main reasons we chose Gold Head...{snicker}...was the amount of geoacaches within the park.  Our first stop was a portion of the Florida Trail.

The trail took us back to Deer Lake, which was gorgeous!  Unfortunately we weren't allowed to swim, but that didn't stop us from enjoying it.  Here are some photos:

Once we found the caches on this trail we turned back, and along the way we ran into some of the local wildlife:

We tried to get them to fight, but no luck.

Once we made it back to the trailhead {snicker} I noticed something.  There was a geocache ammo can mounted to the back of the info sign!  It turns out it was the final part of a multi-stage cache we were about to look for. 

The first stage took us to Sheelar Lake, which is just as beautiful (and off-limits) as Deer Lake.  Still, it was a beauty to take in!

Two snapping turtles...

...and their unfortunate friend.

Rob got a little fresh and grabbed a handful of Chris for this photo.  Aww yeah!!!

Our geocaching took us to the former mill site in the park, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  We've since learned the CCC was created by FDR as part of his New Deal, and was responsible for creating the first state parks in Florida.  Gold Head was one of the first 5 parks in the system.

After a quick lunch back at camp...where Chris had his manservant draw the shades so he could relax next to his indoor reflecting pool...we did our best to finish up caching for the day.  One stage of that multi-cache even took us right by Big Lake Johnson {SNICKER}, which, unfortunately, was shriveled up.  It must have been cold.  Little Lake Johnson didn't fare any better, and swimming is no longer allowed there as well.

Our only Did Not Find of the trip was in an area that had gone through a controlled burn.  In fact, the ground was still smoldering not too far from where we (carefully) searched, and we're pretty sure the cache is toast.

Not what it looked like, unless you thought it looked like cleaning up trash!

A very special cabin in the park!

Eventually our journey took us into the bottom of the ravine that goes through the park, and I was instantly reminded of Ravine Gardens State Park:

We did a little hiking...

...and heard an owl tell us a story.  Hard to see, ultra zoomed in from a great distance, but the owl is in this shot:

Our last stop, as the sun was preparing the sleep for the night, was the ranger station for some more firewood.  Then it was back to camp for garlic.  I mean, chili.


A new set of campers had set up at the site across from ours.  It was a (cranky) older couple with a handful of children in many age ranges, and I honestly thought it may have been a foster situation. I sincerely hope not, after hearing the man yelling at the kids.  There was nothing physical going on, thankfully, so we bit our tongues.  It was hard to do so at 5 o'clock Sunday morning, though.  That's when the man got up and REALLY NEEDED TO CHOP WOOD FOR HIS FIRE.  Rule one: Quiet hours are there for a reason.  Rule two:  Learn some camping etiquette, douchebag.

Once we got up at a normal hour, Chris made us a yummy breakfast of biscuits and gravy.  We had to hurry and pack up our gear since Olivia had a Girl Scout activity in the afternoon.  And so, we fondly bade farewell to our beloved Site 69, the Lakes Johnson, and Gold Head.  It was a fun weekend, steeped in childishness, and enjoyed by all.


  1. What fun! Thanks for taking me along on your camping outing. Cool photos, too!

  2. I am truly embarrassed to admit I did not see this until today. However, I am completely thrilled to have been there with you in spirit - and in name! <3
    Everyone needs some innuendo once in a while. ;) Thanks for yet another great post!