We can’t wait to return to this campground. For us, this has been a fabulous week, even though we took a half of a day to drive to Pensacola to go to an Urgent Care Clinic. What makes this park so great is that it is isolated and surrounded by such great beauty. But if you have an emergency, it was only a 30 mile drive. We have been hiking in the woods for years, so we know to check Bill for ticks as he seems to pick one up every time. But after our first big hike on our Day 2, we were pretty exhausted and decided it had been too cold for the ticks to come out. The next morning, Day 3, we decided to check and guess what, the big tick was actually sucking the lifeblood out of me (Debbie). Since the last time I removed a tick, we had a problem with it (Bill developed a bulls eye from the bite), I googled how to correctly remove a tick. The first thing it said was to stay calm (I needed that since I was freaking out), it’s not that big of a deal (or something to that effect). Then Bill did exactly what it said but he could not get the tick off.
And it started to turn red….so off we went before breakfast to the closest Urgent Care Clinic in our health care plan. The great news is that the doctor just bought a tick key and was happy to finally try it. He confessed they don’t always get them out as easily as one would think. So it worked perfectly and off we went for the antibiotic “just in case” and to Gander Mountain to buy our own key! We now own the best device to remove ticks! And the great news is that we didn’t have another all week!
After we returned from Pensacola, we decided we would take a shorter hike from the campground, the Chain of Lakes Nature Trail. It was a 4.5 mile hike from our campground to the trail head and back. It was beautiful and unique as you can see from these pictures. But again, we didn’t see any birds or hear another wild life. But we did meet two fine young men. One was on Spring Break from college (studying to be a dentist) and his long time friend who is assigned to NAS Whiting, in pilot training. It’s so refreshing to met such young people of promise, out enjoying a beautiful day in nature.
Day 4: We were now ready to tackle the rest of the Juniper Creek Nature Trail, hiking north. We began the hike from our campsite, out of the front of the campground and to the trail head. This trail was pretty unremarkable compared to the hike on Day 2. Once we got on the trail, about 3/4 mile, the forest had been thinned out by a controlled burn. Knowing we had 8 miles ahead of us, we thought we would make good time, so we had a good pace. Once we entered the denser forest, the trail narrowed (ugh, ticks?) and actually began to appear that very few people hike on this part of the trail. Once we hit the 4 mile mark, we thought we came to the road where we had hiked down from the northern trail head on Day 2. We went a little further to make sure, and since the trail hadn’t been very challenging, another 1/2 mile was ok. When we turned around, we realized we had been hiking downhill and now we faced our first challenge: hiking uphill! We really enjoyed the fact that we had hiked the entire length of this trail, even if over two days! Here are just a few pictures:
Day 5: The weather forecast was 100% chance of rain! So we decided to go into Milton and do laundry and pick up a few groceries. The closest laundry mat in Milton didn’t have hot water, so we drove a few more miles west to Pace. The laundry mat is behind the dry cleaners in the Winn Dixie Shopping Center. They have secure wifi on top of plenty of machines.
While it looked like rain all day, it never did rain. We hoped the weather would remain good and on Day 6, we would rent kayaks from The Original Blackwater Canoe Rental and try it. Our campground is within walking distance of the terminus of the river trip. The Blackwater River is perfect for beginners and is the only sand bottom river left in the United States. But that 100% rain came a day late, on our last day here. We originally were supposed to leave on Day 6, but we checked with Reserve America and booked another night, which meant we had to change sites. We decided it was worth saving $30 and canceled the private RV Resort we had booked.
We then cooked our meals for the next few days, and then spent time outside visiting other campers. We met a lot of wonderful people who also loved this campground! Most had been here before. We had hoped to have a campfire as the weather cooled down a bit. But the rain started back up, but we had such a full week, it was OK!
We are headed to Ochlocknee River State Park near Sopchoppy. We expect more of what we had here as these two state parks were recommended to us by another couple, The Lowes, also full-timers, bloggers, nature lovers (especially photograph fabulous pictures of birds) and they love to hike!