Park Updates

Let’s see… our last park update was 7/25. The following weekend my husband and daughter were out-of-town and the following two weekends were for travel.

We went to Florida for our vacation – Seagrove Beach.

??????????????
Fat bottom trees, you make the rocking world go round.

I had lots of big active plans, but it turned out we were all pretty exhausted from life’s non-stop life stuff, so we laid pretty low the whole week.

??????????????
Pretty Port Washington Vista

Our condo complex abutted Port Washington State Forest, so one early morning I hiked a couple of miles alone. I was a little nervous being in a new area, the trails weren’t well-marked, and I occasionally heard things that made me think about the Blair Witch Project, but seeing the exotic Florida flora and fauna made it all worthwhile.

Later in the week, the girl-child wanted to see some dunes we could hike on but those aren’t all that easy to come by. Dunes are mostly part of habitat restoration projects and conservationists are not too keen on tourists climbing on them, even for photo ops.

??????????????
Middle Earth

I did find another state park a few miles away that had a trail that went through dunes – Grayton Beach State Park.  The landscapes there are crazy – thick shade provided by low twisted trees growing out of the cool white sand and dense ground covers. They call this part of their trail Middle Earth as it looks like a place you might find gnome-like creatures.

??????????????
Rare middle earth dweller

 

The thing about Florida in August is that it’s really, really hot. And humid. Hiking through sand is challenging too because of stability, so after a one mile loop we felt like we’d just climbed several mountains.

That was about the extend of our exposure to the wilds of Florida.  The rest was tourist stuff. Pretty. Fun. We saw dolphins and sunsets. Nice break from the usual rhythm. And I was glad to get back home. Mission accomplished.

 

2015-08-22 12.56.14After returning home, we made our annual mad dash to get ready for school – boy child started last week and girl child starts tomorrow. And away we go!

That brings us to yesterday – the unofficial end of summer. It’s fall sports time and my son had a round robin soccer tournament. Even though the weather is much cooler than it could be this time of year (and is in Florida), sitting in the blazing sun for five hours is not high on my list of fun activities. They had four games scheduled so the husband, the girl, and I snuck out for a couple of hours around lunch to explore a nearby state park, Caesar Creek.

Back to the unforgiving Ohio clay – peppered with scrub, fossils, and the occasional unlikely flower. Ah. I like the harsh beauty of it all.

We found a gorge and took a quick hike around the place where the dam overflows. There is a lot of engineered conservation going on to prevent flooding, along with trails that wandered off into those thick woods in the background of the bottom photo – definitely a place we plan to revisit when we have more time.

2015-08-22 13.14.58