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

Henry David Thoreau

The Fairchild Oak

Saturday December 15, 2012
Site 4 Gamble Rogers Memorial Recreation Area
Flagler Beach, Florida


This morning at dawn is ………….can you guess?????   Yup…..CLOUDY.
A Tiny bit of color and a sliver of golden orb.


Early morning skies 023


A sliver of a golden orb before it disappeared into the thick clouds.
Can you even spot that sliver down at the horizon line??


Early morning skies 027A 

It all makes for some interesting skies and great waves though.


Early morning skies 042

Early morning skies 043


Early morning skies 057



Ormond Loop Map_thumb[1]

In the afternoon we pack a picnic lunch and take the Ormand Scenic Loop.  This 30 mile double loop includes 4 state and 6  local parks.  Hikes and picnic areas are plentiful so if you are a strong biker, I think this would be a very interesting loop to take.  I’m  good for 20 miles so I’ll have to get in better shape to bike it but I think it would be a wonderful trip. I wonder how much time I’d have to stop and see all the things on the loop though if I were biking.


Today we have Ruby and an entire afternoon.  First we get a look at North Peninsula State Park and make note to return and hike its 2 mile trail.  This park is within easy biking distance of Gamble Rogers so we’ll bike over on another day. 


Our first stop  is  Bulow Creek  or what we think is Bulow Creek.  It’s what the sign says but it turns out to be not the main entrance but a LONG back entrance to a number of trails.  Nice big sign for a back entrance.

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (1)_thumb[1]

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (47)_thumb[2]

We drive and drive and drive down a single lane sandy road wondering where is this park?  And what happens if someone else is coming in the opposite direction.

We finally come to what looks like a parking area, get out to look around and I’m thinking PADDLE!!


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (46)_thumb[2]

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (44)_thumb[1]


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (45)_thumb[2]


Ok write this one down for a return trip with kayaks.

On to our next stop which was the hit of the day for me.  The pictures just don’t do it justice.  This is one AMAZING tree. (hint: get prepared for too many pictures)

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (43)_thumb[1]


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (42)_thumb[1]

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (41)_thumb[1]


This tree is upwards of 500 years old.  This means it was likely here when the Spanish invaded Florida.


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (39)_thumb[1]

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (38)_thumb[1]

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (37)_thumb[1]



David estimated this limb at 5’ in diameter at its thickest point.

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (31)_thumb[2]



It’s a whole world unto itself.


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (34)_thumb[1]

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (33)_thumb[1]


This is one of the most magnificent trees I have ever seen and it was a very moving experience to be in its presence.  It makes me happy that through the years people have chosen to protect it.  These are the things that make me proud of my species.


What a thrill to give the Fairchild Oak a BIG HUG!


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (32)_thumb[1]


From there we set out to our final stop of the day Tomoka State Park.

We are here to check out the campground and potential kayaking.

The campground is a large loop with sites mostly on the outside.  The sites are mostly good size and it appears can accommodate big rigs in some of its sites.  A few have a view of the Halifax River through the trees.

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (20)Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (19)


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (17)


It’s quite a bit sunnier here now than it was when we left Gamble Rogers this morning and we are wondering if the cloud cover has lifted there too.




Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (15)




The water map shows lots of very nice kayak possibilities here in this park bounded by two rivers and with two streams running through it.





David finds a great spot on the water for our late lunch.

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (6)

Afterwards we find the historic marker for the Indian village Nocoroco

Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (48)


and the large art installation designed and executed by Fredrick Dana Marsh honoring chief Tomokie.  The installation is in need of some repair and I was sorry to see that it was not being cared for.  I had particularly wanted to see the Frederick Dana Marsh Museum but when we drove up to the building, it was closed and looking in through the doors showed it was empty.


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (51)


Bulow Creek &  Tamoka SP (50)


We ask about it at the ranger station as we leave and he says the collection was divided.  Half of it went to Tallahassee and the other half to somewhere else.  He wasn’t sure.  I could find no information on line that indicated the museum in Tomoka State Park had been closed.  Marsh was an Ormand Beach sculptor and architect. 

We leave Tomoka and finish the outside loop with future plans for some hiking and kayaking in the parks we have visited today.  And when we do, you can be sure I’ll be going back to see the fabulous Fairchild Oak. 

Definitely the hit of the day.


  1. Oh boy, more spots to kayak. I will be anxious to pick out a new one for me.... I will definitely measure the length of the hallway that it will ride so that it has easy exit!! The tree was fabulous. It puts our 'tiny' selves in to a new perspective.

  2. Cool tree! Isn't it great to be a tree hugger? The things that tree has lived through boggles the mind.

  3. I just knew you'd be hugging that beautiful oak, but did you give it a kiss?

    I'm enjoying your sunrise pictures, I can see the sun come up and I don't even have to get out of bed. :c)

  4. some great bike trails near the old oak tree as well...

  5. What an amazing tree! I'd have hugged it too....glad to see you guys enjoying yourselves :)

  6. That is one amazing oak tree. We drove to a neighborhood in Port Royal where the size of the trees left us in awe ... but it was dark, so didn't get any photos.

  7. Hard to hug such a huge oak. Beautiful!

  8. We think our favorite tree huggers have met their match;o)) What a magnificent oak!!!

  9. Wow, I've seen lots of big redwoods,but never an oak that magnificent. Nice areas to kayak too!

  10. The Fairchild Oak was truly awe inspiring. Thanks for the great photos of this area. Makes me want to go back to Flagler Beach and spend more time.

  11. I'm a treehugger, and i approve this message.

  12. That is one magnificent old Oak Tree. I sure enjoyed all of your photos - great blog!

  13. That is truly a magnificent Oak, the stories it could tell. You've lined up a lot of great places for some future adventures.

  14. I fell in love with the beautiful live oaks in Northern Florida the first time I visited in 2000. It is one of my favorite parts of being there, those trees are just so incredible and amazing, and so wise somehow. Do you suppose it is their gray beards?

  15. The oak tree is magnificent! I'd love to hug it myself.

  16. That's one fine tree for the perfect hugs!

  17. I did not know anything about live oaks until Amy pointed them out to me in Texas. They are beautiful. I never knew they got this big, though. This one, however, is truly magnificent. I think I would have hugged it too! The clouds continue in Maryland too... still hoping for.. though not expecting.. a white Christmas. Hope David's twinkly lights are holding up. Stay warm... I see coats in the pics.... I think you need temps in the 70s and bright sunshine!

  18. That's one humongous tree! Very cool.

  19. Fantastic, absolutely gorgeous sunrise pictures!! And, the tree...what a history and so large - amazing - hard to imagine it - lucky you to see it in person :)


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