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

Henry David Thoreau

We Think We Have a Better Name for Black Lake

Friday March 27, 2015
O’Leno State Park
High Springs, Florida



Because of the prediction of yet MORE rain, we decide to turn a longer hike we wanted to take into a shorter one by driving over to River Rise rather than walking over.  Yes you can drive to River Rise but in my opinion it wouldn’t give you that same WOW feeling upon arrival.

In order to drive in, you must get the gate lock combination from the ranger’s station.  The gate is left locked all the time although there is a low horse step over along the fence line which hikers could also use.   River rise is used frequently by equestrians and there are signs indicating the rules for them at the gate.  What a great way to see this park that would be.




We arrive, drive down the great old road and park just at hiking marker 23 which will leave us about 3/4 mile hike to the lake. This morning’s no rain window is smaller than usual.   We set out on the trail but after we are out of sight of Ruby David thinks perhaps we should move her more over to the side in case any horses need to get by.  I’m doubting anyone on a horse will come out with the rain predictions but it is still a considerate thing to do so we do.   I took this picture of Ruby waiting for us before we moved her to the left.   Nice parking spot though isn’t it?  Sure wish they’d let Winnona Boondock here. 






It’s another lovely trail through the woods where the birds are singing beautifully and I find lots of little things to enjoy.






I’m not good with these moth looking butterflies or butterfly looking moths so if you are, let me know who these two are.










There is no clear path visible from the trail for the turn to Black Lake so if you aren’t watching, you could miss it.







We decide to try to circumnavigate the lake although there is no clear path to do so.  If it gets too sketchy, we’ll just turn around.








Ok now what about the swamp?   There are some great cypress trees.







Doesn’t this one look like it’s Pooh’s House.  I’m knocking on his door but he’s not answering of course since he’s back with Winnona.   That’s my rain jacket around my waist ‘just in case’. 









David swears the knees are taller than I am so he takes these pictures to prove his point.




Even with my hat on, this one wins the height contest.



We’re definitely in the land of the knees


And trees.


Seeing the rings on this tree, I’d say a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker lives in this neck of the woods.






Big trees around the shore of this lake.  We think this lake should be called Cypress Rim Lake rather than Black.







Yes that’s a blue line on this white mushroom at my feet.  I have never seen blue on a mushroom before and have no idea what these are.









We’re on the opposite side of the lake from the entry way so it’s too late to turn back now.




Wow, on this impromptu trail we are seeing things we have never seen before.  You really have to keep your eyes open.  David spots this Walnut Sphinx moth hanging low on the tree.   He’s outstanding!











We’ve reached the far end of the lake and the swamp.  Now we need to walk across that little land bridge and head back up to the trail. 




But where is the trail?   Lots of palmetto to push through in what we think is the right direction.




Thumbs up.  David’s found it!   Now that was some real trail blazing!




And sure enough it starts spitting rain and we put our raincoats on.  Or at least I do.



The rain is just a brief shower and when we are almost back to Ruby, we see this spot of yellow off through the woods on the right.


I’m guessing it’s golden groundsel but I’m not sure.  It isn’t mustard and doesn’t look like ragwort.



Whatever it is, it’s prolific and makes a lovely end to our little hike to Black Lake.




It’s a short day for us and when we return, sure enough it pours rain again.  We’ve actually done a good job of getting outside before or between the rains that have been predicted for nearly every day during our last week at O’Leno.

We have a delicious spaghetti dinner after which I race walk the yellow trail and finish off my 10K steps.  I make it back in time to watch some Sweet 16 NCAA Basketball.  The ACC Conference has a lot of teams in it this year but they are falling by the wayside.  Elite 8 starts tomorrow.  This is the first year we have really had a consistent TV signal to watch the tournament.  It’s fun, especially with popcorn!


  1. Love those walks where all the little tiny things catch your eye! I sure would enjoy walking among all those giant trees...and their knees!

  2. I had to laugh at David straddling the tree. Al did the same exact thing last summer and ripped the heck out of his pants when they caught on a little piece of the branch sticking out. Good job missing the rain. We had a really hard rain one night, but thankfully it passed over and is all gone. Nothing left but the wind and cooler temps.

  3. The knees may be over your head, but you are a stand out among the flowers. ;)

  4. What a great picture of you with those yellow flowers!

  5. I loved the moth and especially the picture of you and the yellow flowers. A keeper for sure! Basketball is over for me as Gonzaga fell to Duke yesterday. I had every intention of watching the game but was busy packing the van for a week trip. I'm sorry Gonzaga....I failed you!

  6. The knees, so to speak, are quite unusual to my eyes.

  7. the pic of the tree and it's reflection framed between two other trees is simply outstanding. . .frame worthy actually. . .

    I love cypress trees also. . .but I tell you what. . .that just looked like water moccasin heaven that you two were wandering through. . .yikes!

  8. I love walking with you because you do see all the little parts of life as well as the big trees. Looks like spring has arrived there with so much young growth. Those knees are huge, even if you are short. Not a bad thing, I'm short too. ;)

  9. That was one "Knee" Deep hike! ;c)

    You're right, that would have been one great boondocking site for Winnona. And Pooh would have been closer to home, too!

  10. So many beautiful photos of beautiful sights in this blog that I can't pick out a favorite, although I love the variety of mushrooms you see on a walk through the woods. Enjoy the games and the popcorn. I've never cared much for popcorn until I tasted Boom-Chicka-Pop Sweet & Salty. I just bought a bag to snack on while I'm traveling.

  11. More wonderful photos!! You sure blazed a trail through those Cypress and so many huge knees:o)) Inquiring minds want to know...was there coconut oil on that popcorn!?!?!!! ;o))

  12. This was was an awesome hike!! I just love the cypress trees and all those knees!!! The knees are so unique. You certainly found some granddad trees and knees. Yes, that door does look like Pooh's door:) Winnie the Pooh is my all time favorite! Love all the neat fungi! And that yellow patch was the perfect ending:)

  13. Wow. This spot is idyllic. I kept thinking of Tolkien or at least "Once Upon a Time," my favorite TV show these days. A unicorn should have walked by.

  14. Dad's comment on here was a winner :) That looks like a fun hike with some beautiful moth finds. The trail blazing aspect I find fun. Really tall knees. I also like Cypress Rim much better than Black for the name - amazing trees, neat place :)

  15. So I bet I would be walking among the giants in those tall cypress knees. I like this kind of hike too when you see little things that we normally overlook and yet it has its own little beauty.
    I agree that little patch of yellow flowers is the perfect ending of a day that's spitting water.

  16. I know you're petite, but still -- those are some really tall cypress knees! Love the photo of you amongst the golden yellow flowers, too.

  17. Beautiful. Lush. So full of life. Thanks for sharing Aunt Sherry! Love you both! Virginia misses you!

  18. You find the most interesting places, love how you make us feel like we are there with you. Thank you for including us in another one of your days.

  19. Some great pictures. Yes, the tree reflected btw two cypress was outstanding, also the far away one of you with the yellow flowers has great color.

  20. "....and I find lots of little things to enjoy." That's why I so look forward to your posts :-) That pic two above Pooh's door looks like a carnelian forming from a pod - it is so magical and unique, I don't even want to know what it really is. The knees are so interesting, either a very new or a very old forest. David's comment was like a sweet hug :-)

  21. What? Neither of you fell in the swamp? Love the sphinx moth!


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