Monday, December 21, 2015

Florida Camping On One Of The Few Cold Days We Get

This is turning out of be one of the hottest Decembers on the the books for Florida, and yet we somehow accidentally picked the one cold weekend of the season to go camping. My brothers and I headed once more to Princess Place Preserve (near Saint Augustine) to get away from it all. We nearly had the whole park to ourselves. To have this sense of isolation in Florida seems unreal. We spent a lot of the weekend building a fire, going for long walks and talking about everything under the sun. It's a little hard to entice the women in our familes to come along, as the nearest real bathroom is a couple miles away, and as I found out, has no electricity or any kind of light at night. The only shower in the whole park is sulphur water, and cold, so we call it "primitive". But...that is what it seems to take to get away from the crowds of RVer's, the wild party groups and the big families. You get old Florida nature, and plenty of it.
We were in a spot called Moody 1, and my tent was mere feet from the salt water marsh and in the middle of the woods. I never even saw a campfire that wasn't ours, the whole weekend. Friday morning, I was in shirt and flip flops and by midnight that night I was wrapped in my mummy bag, trying to keep my nose from getting cold. The whole time, I could hear the wind howling over the marsh, enough that I wondered if my tent stakes would hold.

We took turns cooking and it was "guy" food. Lots of meat, light on the veges. I made Mulligan stew Friday night and I'm almost getting proud of my version, thanks to the help of my wife with the recipe and the input from the family. Paul brought the organic burgers and Steve brought steaks, eggs, and bacon. We had to do a lot of hiking to work off that food, and Princess Place is great for that.
Great for just walking along dirt roads through the woods, but there are a lot of historic things to see, like the old swimming pool for the hunting lodge. The park is neat as a pin and makes you feel like you want to help keep it that way. We saw some animals, and the best siting was as great horned owl just hanging out on the ground while we watched. Unfortunately, that owl blended in so well that my photos of him looked like nothing at all.
Next trip, we will bring bikes and kayaks, and continue our discussions of movies, politics, and just about everything. I will have to remember to bring a battery backup for my electronics...hey, you didn't think I would go totally unplugged, did you?

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