Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Camping Trip

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Photo Credit: David July — Moss growing on a tree along the River Trail at O'Leno State Park, High Springs, Florida, 17 January 2010 Last weekend I joined Mom and Ross for three days camping at O'Leno State Park. After a tumultuous drive on Interstate 10 through fog and heavy rain, I arrived at the park and drove toward the Magnolia camping area. The park ranger at the entrance had provided me a map, brochure and permit for my car before sending me to campsite 29. Unfortunately, Mom and Ross were set up in campsite 16 creating an interesting moment when I pulled into someone else's campsite and exchanged puzzled looks with an equally confused man.
See the accompanying photograph gallery.
Instead of grilling in the rain and 40 mile per hour gusts of wind, we drove to nearby High Springs and found the delicious Fleetwood Diner, 615 NW Santa Fe Boulevard (formerly Floyd's Diner). Their comprehensive menu includes classic diner favorites, homestyle dinners and breakfast anytime they are open. UPDATE: During my visit on 19 February 2012, I discovered the restaurant is now called Springs Diner. We used a break in the storm as an opportunity to build a campfire, something I had been looking forward to specifically. It was a fun time until the rain and wind returned, when hickory trees surrounding our campsite dropped golf ball-sized nuts on us like weaponized projectiles. We narrowly escaped the assault but my car and Ross' truck sustained minor damage. The next morning after breakfast at the campsite, we walked to the swinging suspension bridge (1938) and the River Trail trailhead. The trail included views of the Santa Fe River and the sink where it becomes subterranean, flowing southwest three and a half miles to River Rise Preserve State Park. We continued to the day use area and log pavilion, watched white-tailed deer grazing in the woods and hiked the Dogwood and Limestone Trails. We ended a perfect Sunday with Mom's chicken and veggie skewers, various beers from Republic of Panama, the early celebration of my birthday and a quiet evening by the campfire. On Monday we wandered down to River Rise, hiked the Yellow Trail and saw where the Santa Fe River resurfaces and continues west to the Suwannee River. Since we had already vacated our campsite, we once again visited the Fleetwood Diner to have another great meal. After saying our goodbyes, we drove out of O'Leno and headed home in opposite directions. The long weekend was such a success we plan to select another park and do this again soon.
Photo Credit: David July

Two Comment Bubbles One Comment

  • Claire

    Really liked your photos; I see a lot of similarities in the landscape, proving that a lot of Florida looks a lot alike, considering most people think Miami and beaches when they even consider our our state.

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