Since Olivia and Rob were out of school and work for Labor Day, I decided to take the day off as well. With 3 whole days off together, of course we took a road trip! Tallahassee was our destination, since there are so many park possibilities in the surrounding areas. We packed up as much as we could Friday night and hit the road bright and early Saturday morning. The drive is only about 4 hours, and we took our time. First destination? The Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park. A name that gives us the giggles, sure, but an important place nonetheless.
We drove through a quiet residential area in our search for the park. Eventually we found the right driveway and parked the car. The pathway led to a small educational pavilion, and we spent a few minutes looking around at the exhibits.
I'm not sure whether to be proud or hang my head in shame. ;)
Eventually we made our way down the path and up the ramp to an observation area. Along the way we disturbed a black racer (snake), but it lived up to its name and I couldn't get a picture.
This is a picture of the main ceremonial mound from the side:
If you were just hiking along through the woods and came across the site, you wouldn't think much of it, right? Except that maybe Florida terrain usually doesn't lend itself to hill-like structures like this. The significant thing, though, is that this is the largest temple mound in the state, standing 46 feet tall. And, it's somewhere between 1100-1800 years old. I am awestruck that it has withstood the test of time.
Thankfully, the people who created this park included this sign. It's extremely helpful when figuring out what you're looking at!
There is a short interpretive trail near the mound, but we decided to skip it. Mosquitoes were pretty fierce, and we had other things to see. So, we headed back to the car. Along the way, some interesting mushrooms caught our attention. Rob was very sure he had located the 'mounds' in the park name....
Yep, they even made it onto Instagram:
And I wonder where Olivia gets it. ;)
We drove a little while longer and came to our second park of the day,
Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park. This one is another set of ceremonial mounds, the largest a little shorter than the last one (36 feet tall), and not quite as old (only about 800 years old). Before looking around at the park, though, we decided to eat lunch:
Once that was taken care of, we made our way over to one of the two ceremonial mounds open for the public.
And, since the interpretive trail is nearby, we went for a short hike (and did some geocaching as well):
We eventually found the geocache we were looking for and made our way back to the main ceremonial mound. And here began the long climb to the top:
I love how they love to spend time together.
Okay, so, two state parks down, and one stop left! Thanks for hanging in this long! We left Lake Jackson and drove a little further still, ending up at the Lake Talquin State Forest:
It was the nearest state forest that had a trail we could hike that qualified for our Trailwalker log. And, let me tell you, they completely embrace the Trailwalker program in this part of the state! I'm not sure if it's the proximity to the capitol or if we just have so-so land management where we live, but we found ourselves in the middle of a well-marked trail with excellent facilities nearby.
One thing we thought was kind of cool were the squawk boxes positioned along a portion of the trail:
You'd press the button and hear someone tell the history of the area and other significant facts. The problem we found was that they were in poor shape, most of them playing at half speed. It sounded like the speakers were all drunk!
Here are a few pictures from our hike:
If I could be any berry in the world...
This was such a lovely walk in the woods. It felt like the perfect end to our first day in Tallahassee, and we all left there feeling complete. Day One down, two to go!