Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Florida Scenic Trail

Ocean Pond Campground Site #16
Osceola National Forest

We woke up this morning and saw that one of the water front sites with its own kayak put in had been left so we quick packed everything up and moved up from site #9, a nicely secluded site, to #16.  Not quite so secluded but great view and easy kayaking.

So here we are parked in Site 16.   How about that view!   

With our own personal kayak put in.  LOVE this.  So easy to jump in and go out for a paddle.
No taking the kayaks off the car and putting them back on.

Did you notice the lounge chair in the picture above?  Can't you see me sitting there with my mug?  I'm one Happy Camper for sure!

After the move  we talked with an interesting neighbor,  Tom the minimalist. His description of himself not mine.  He full times in this Ford van he customized.  He has traveled with Zoey his cat for nearly 7 years.

Now this is really simple living.

We had to cut our very interesting discussions with Tom short since we’d hoped to take a hike.  Not much of an early start  but we thought we had time to get to the Olustee Battlefield. More about why go there later

I mentioned in a previous blog that we wanted to hike part of the Florida National Scenic Trail since I  understood that the it went “through” the campground.   The Florida Trail is one of only eight National Scenic Trails designated by congress.  The AT is one, so is the Pacific Crest.  The Florida Trail, when totally complete, will run 1400 miles and connect Florida's wilderness areas.  It will traverse nearly all of the state's unique habitats from the sawgrass prairies of the Big Cypress National Preserve to historic Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore at Pensacola Beach.   We've hiked pieces of the AT in our home state of Virginia and thought we'd do the same here in Florida.  State Trails are a great idea.  So off we went in search of it. 

Found it……..Blue blaze……State Trail sign……off we go……….then…..confusion
We followed the blue blazes and then there were no more and we were no where so we walked up the road looking for "where did it go"??

Found another Blue one.  We knew the section of the trail we wanted to take was South.  Got out the trusty compass.  Took the blue blaze going south and ended up right back in the campground.   Hmmmm, going round in circles it seems.

We hadn’t stopped at the Forest Service Info Center on our way in so we didn't have a map.  We were just going to walk a section of it and then backtrack IF we could find it.  So off I went to the computer and found out that the blue blaze is a SPUR leading to the trail.   At this point, and after our late start, we’ve lost an hour of the time we thought we had to hike to Olustee Battle Field, the only battle of the Civil War fought in Florida.  We’re not big Civil War or Battle fans but the battlefield has a viewing station for trees in which the Red Cockaded Woodpecker is said to hang out.   And that we did want to see.  

So back we went on the blue spur in a different direction and this time we did find the orange blazed trail and took it as far as time allowed.   Allowed meaning to get back for a short sunset paddle.   Say 6:00.   Here we are on the trail.  Orange Blaze GREAT!

This entire area has been under  a nearly 6 month severe drought as evidenced by the lack of water under this boardwalk.  Very very dry.   A much different experience than those hiking the trail under more usual conditions.

When we got to the end of this section there was a sign to turn left but we wondered how we would recognize this on our return so we set up a pine cone barrier.  Hansel and Gretel came to mind.

Picking up the large pine cones for our sign made us notice the beauty in nature's symmetry.

It is so nice to be living a life where we can notice these amazing patterns that in our previous hurry here hurry there existance we might well have missed.  The subtle myriad colors just do not show up in these pictures like they did to our eyes.  I'm so sorry. 

We weren't able to make it to the Battlefield but it was a lovely walk on a beautiful day.

On the return trip, we were  paying as much attention to the ground beneath us as to the our surroundings.  Here is some of the beauty in the lichens and fungus that we saw.

But we did make it back in time to get out for a short kayak before sunset.
So easy to just jump in the water when you don't have to drive or even walk more than a few yards.

We are traveling west on ocean pond this time.

We were out for about an hour

and got some nice pictures of the sun setting 

Here we are returning to our dock and Winona the Brave.  No need to put the boats back on the car to go out again tomorrow.  WOW!

Even if it is a bit muddy, it's great! 

Fun day!   New site, new friend, new trail, beautiful sunset!!  We are Happy Campers Indeed!!!
Glad we could share another great day with you.  Thanks for checking in on us.

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