DAY 6: OCHLOCKONEE RIVER STATE PARK It was very hard to leave the beautiful Pensacola, Destin, Santa Rosa areas. Each had its own special beauty and we barely scratched the surface but travel on we must. Because Carl hates paying tolls I decided to find a route to our next destination on a “back road” that did not incur tolls. BIG MISTAKE! I love travelling off the beaten highway path but this travel experience was awful. Rt. 20 is ugly. Nothing but miles and miles of nothingness except for the tree farms. We decided that is what we were looking at tall pines with no bottom branches lined up mile after mile. Some had been harvested and the debris was left to waste in unsightly heaps. The long stretch of road bordered by these straight vertical trees started to feel oppressive. I felt like I was in a tree-lined “road prison” with no way out but down the relentless long straight road ahead. Panic quickly set in and I wanted off this road immediately but there was nowhere to go. Finally, finally we entered a town whose name brought tears of laughter. The little town of “Sopchoppy” was a welcomed sight.
Then I heard a winy little voice in my head……It was Miss Google. ”Oh so now you don’t like this road? Didn’t you ask for no tolls? Didn’t you say get me away from all the commercial urban sprawl? Didn’t I give you what you asked for?…. Be careful what you ask Miss Google for, especially when you are pulling a trailor you can get into trouble on back roads. The long asphalt boring road turned into a very bumpy farm road. I kept waiting for Carl to complain but he remained thankfully silent. He was still grateful not to pay a toll.
My reward for the long boring road was entering the Ochlockonee River State Park. A huge live oak with streaming Spanish Moss greeted us a the camp registration. What a hidden gem. It is a small peaceful camp nestled in a shady wooded live oak forest providing shade and unending variety of organic growth. The palmettos below the trees provide a tropical oasis of an unspoiled vista. Many of our fellow campers are hearty bicyclist and nature lovers. The whole atmosphere is inviting and peaceful. What an unusual and beautiful place hidden deep in a forest of live oaks. It is secluded and modest in size with only 30 sites on a small U-shaped loop. Someone said it was like the old Florida.
There is a lovely lake and marshy ponds with a nice meandering trail. The great drawback this time of year in May were the little biting critters. No-See-Ums are very tiny – only 0.03 inches long. They are difficult to see but you will definitely feel them later. They leave a multitude of itchy bites.