Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trip 59: Anastasia State Park

State Parks visited:  51

Easter Weekend was slowly creeping up on us, and we weren't sure what plans we should make.  Neither Rob nor I had to work, and to be honest, we're both really lax about following tradition when it comes to holidays.  So, when a campsite became available at Anastasia State Park, we jumped at the chance to visit!

Immediately after work and school and packing, we hit the road for the drive up to St. Augustine.  It isn't too far, thankfully, because we had some complications with our kayaks on our roof rack.  The wind was pretty extreme...and only got worse on the highway...and one corner of the rack was pulled loose from the car.  We pulled over as quickly as possible and managed to come up with a temporary fix that got us to camp.  Still, we were pretty shaken at the possibility of losing our kayaks while driving!

Saturday dawned bright and windy, and we knew there wouldn't be a chance for any kayaking that day.  We ended up sightseeing and geocaching instead, but first check out some critters from around camp:



(Actually, she was helping us a *lot* by hammering in our tent stakes!)

Geocaching took us to the beach and then down the trails at the park.  Here are some photos from the beach:

The park is right down the street from the St. Augustine Lighthouse, which is somewhere I've been wanting to visit.  So, that was our next destination.

I love the trees in the parking lot!

So, we paid our admission and explored the grounds for a little while.  Then it was time for us to make the climb up to the top of the lighthouse.  We got inside the entryway....signed the guest log...

....made it up one flight of stairs....

...when a certain little girl declared, "This far, no further."  There was no amount of bribery, cajoling, begging, or pleading that could sway that declaration.  It wasn't so much a matter of fear, I think, as not wanting to get tired out from the climbing.  We gave up the fight and ended up heading back to camp for lunch and then more geocaching.

Our explorations took us to a neat little park with a pond.  As soon as we stepped out onto the observation deck on the pond, we were greeted by some of my favorite critters:

There were dozens of turtles, and I guess they're used to people feeding them.  We did not, and just kept exploring.  I also saw a Red Admiral butterfly:

After exploring the trails and geocaching a bit more, we headed back to camp and just relaxed.  I made panini sandwiches for dinner...

....and apparently they smelled so good, a little raccoon tried to come join us.  Twice.  You can see him running away, under the kayaks, here:

Easter Sunday.  Olivia was concerned that the Easter Bunny wouldn't find us at camp.  So, she got up and looked in all the possible places he could have hidden a basket of goodies, and what did she find in the car??

Olivia explored her Easter basket while I cooked breakfast.  We started packing up camp when Robert noticed a bird with a fascination for our car side mirror...

Eventually we loaded everything up and headed down to the Salt Run for some paddling.  I didn't take many pictures, unfortunately, but a kind stranger offered to take a family shot for us:

Hey look, it's the lighthouse we didn't climb.

We paddled for a little while, since Robert really wanted to see the Castillo de San Marcos from the river.  It's the huge fort that is St. Augustine's main attraction, and well worth checking out.  Unfortunately I was uncomfortable in the water, my fears getting the best of me, and I insisted on turning back before we could get to it.  It was the only black mark on an otherwise-great weekend.

Post Script:

In Olivia's search for her Easter basket, she discovered something very cool:  a butterfly chrysalis attached to her camp chair:

The chrysalis made it home with us safely.  One of my coworkers operates a butterfly farm, and she gave us a pyramid to put the chrysalis in so it could develop safely.  And less than a week later?  A beautiful Buckeye emerged!

That's got to be one of the neatest camp stories yet!