Kalle and I wanted to reinforce the efforts of whoever had the courage to drive over there and tell them to turn it down and we both screamed something refined, in unison like ” YES ASSSHOLLLLLES ITS TOOO LOUD!!!”
Arriving at the privately owned campground at Ginnie Springs is a bit overwhelming. Ginnie Springs Outdoors LLC operates this privately owned nature park, with over 200 acres of pure woodsy Florida located on the Santa Fe River. It is a very popular north Florida destination for campers, divers, tubers, and folks with all night partying on their mind. Checking in on a weekend involves lines to the check in area inside a well appointed dive shop, filling out forms and signing away your right to sue the owners for any possible mishap.
Security is high. Sneaking into Ginnie Springs will probably not be an option unless you are in someone’s trunk. You can’t even leave Ginnie Springs park without driving past a guard.
The 7 dramatic crystal clear springs located on the property, make the park popular with scuba divers, snorklers and cave divers. All springs feed the Santa Fe River and tubing down the river from one end of the park to the other is popular pastime. Certified Cave divers can explore over 30,000 feet of passageways in the Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear cave system.
Fees are a bit steep. Campers pay a per day per person charge and must also pay a per day per person charge for use of the park. Our party, 2 adults and one child were charged over 150.00 for a 3 night stay. In return, you are turned loose in the campground to choose from a huge plethora of campsites, plenty located directly on the river. It probably doesn’t matter what time you arrive.. there will still be an acceptable campsite at Ginnie Springs. While there are a lot of sites on the river there are still more in the woods surrounding. You will find a suitable site just about on any weekend There is much property, all wooded all with primitive campsites set up. Continue reading
The Florida State Park of Cayo Costa is located right across Boca Grande Pass to the South and is accessible only by boat or ferry. It had been almost 15 years since I’d visited and I suggested it for a 3 night family getaway right before Thanksgiving. Cayo Costa has both camping cabins and a tent area, but even in cabins, it is rustic, primitive camping experience. There is no electricity on Cayo Costa. No water at your cabin or campsite. There are bathrooms and water is available there.
We decided we’d take the parents 17 foot Scout to the island, traveling from their home in Englewood. Loading the truck was a chore with a huge cooler, giant tent, a load of firewood, fishing stuff, clothes for three, cooking gear and “W” the nickname we applied to wine. This was one vacation where everything was lugged. We lugged the stuff outa the truck to the dock at Jim and Faye’s, staging it for loading the boat in the morning. In the morning, we lugged everything to the boat and loaded it carefully so that it wouldn’t sink. Finally, we were set to run to CayoCosta, about an hour away by boat.. Continue reading
I’ve always been fascinated by the the Amazon River.. who isn’t? However, walking the entire 4000 miles of just didn’t seem to be an option for me. But, In what must be one of the most amazing adventure stories ever, 34 year old Ed Stafford a former Captain of the British Army has completed a 4000 mile trek of the Amazon. He started the trek in April of 2008 and has completed it TODAY, 848 days later! What an adventure this must have been! I admit I have not been following Ed’s journey, I actually heard of it only today but I went immediately to his blog of the journey and started reading. It is a fascinating account and highly recommended. Start here to read completely. The server is crowded with visitors right now and crashes are frequent but it is worth it.. some highlights are below with my review.
Ed began in Southern Peru at the Pacific Ocean, with a friend Luke. The first month of the trek took them on narrow trails through the Andes,passing ancient Inca ruins and small communities of people living high in the Andes Mountains. While in the town of Unon, High in the Andes with no roads to connect them to civilization, the villagersthere discussed the noticable effects of climate change on their way of life. Instead of 4 rainy months, the rainfall was reduced to one month with crops becoming affected by the change, despite their interesting irrigation system. Read their blog post on this here. Continue reading
North Carolina is always alluring to Floridians. It beckons us with visions of mountain vistas, cool waterfalls, rushing rivers. Sounded like just the right trip. We searched online for cabins, and settled on our cabin “Sadie’s Retreat.” We left Lutz at 6 am, arriving just before the sun set over the mountains in full view from the front porch of our new home away from home. We were thrilled! We spent almost all evenings cooking on the grill and watching the sunset which inspired my vacation painting below.
Porch View From Sadie's Retreat
The nights were cool and refreshing compared to our Florida home, but the days were still pretty dern hot. The solution was simple: Lets Tube down the Broad River. Our search brought us to River Creek Campground.
The Broad River and its tributaries feed beautiful Lake Lure with over 10 million gallons of water per day. Like many lakes created by damming one end of a river, The water needs to be released on the downstream side. The release is calculated based on the water height in the lake, Releases can be daily in the event of heavy rain or snow melt. In the event of drought, water may be released only every several days. On days when the downstream Broad River is dryer, tubing is impossible. On release days, however, the river boldly flows and water levels increase above the level of the many rocks in its bed creating small rapids and a really good time tubing. Continue reading