Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tues. March 18, 2014-K-Camel Lake, Apalachicola NF,  and Basin Bayou, Freeport, FL

We very much enjoyed our time at Camel Lake.  Very pretty place, but a few too many barking dogs.   We had a great campsite on the lake which I did a little paddle on.  Not too much to see.  Quite a few turtles poking their noses out of the water, a hawk (maybe a Marsh hawk?) hanging out in a tree, a couple ducks, 2 American Coots, and a swim noodle in the bushes that I rescued.

Our campsite at Camel Lake.


Tom pretending he can read a book.....

A VW bug that came in.  We have never seen a set-up like this in all of our years of traveling.  It was pretty cool! Keeps one out of the snakes, I guess? I wonder what happens when you forget to take it down and just drive off...believe me-some of the things we've pulled on this trip? WE could do it!

Just don't leave the ladder home! (And don't forget where you are when you wake up!)

Our site from the water.

The hawk.

One night I was getting dinner ready and had asked Tom if he could bring out a metal mixing bowl.  He asked "where do you want it"? I told him, "On a hard surface."  He follows instructions well, don't you think? Fruit salad, anyone?

We got an enormous amount of rain while we were there (almost 6”) along with tornado warnings!  Ugh, those really scare the daylights out of me, but the local folk just take them in stride.  I think they hear them all the time, so “No big deal!” they like to say. The day we left though, Tom drove out in the Tracker to see how much water was across the road. It was under water in 7 places, some a couple of hundred feet across and 10" to 12" deep. Luckily, we'd been driving in and out and knew the base was solid and gravelly, so we left without a problem. Tom said, afterwards of course, that all he could think of while driving a 14,000 pound camper through them was of Florida's infamous sinkholes! 

We did a short, 4 mile hike on a Nature Conservancy property to an overlook of the Apalachicola River. It was classic Florida ravine terrain, where spring fed seeps become sandy creeks that flow in very deep (200' to 300' deep) ravines to the river. The trail wound down into and back up out of 2 of them-great workout! The Apalachicola River is the major drainage into Apalachicola bay, which harvests about 90% of the oysters in Florida. The mix of fresh water, and rich sediment from the river and a very shallow, salt water bay it is emptying into, which keeps the salt water warm, makes the oyster beds extremely productive.  They are extremely delicious cooked in the shell directly on hot coals.

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014 we headed out. It was sort of poignant leaving as we are driving out of the eastern time zone for who knows how long, and we are finally heading west, which is always a very exciting thing for us. It always feels good to be driving. Our feet get a bit too itchy if we stay in one place for too long!

We found a really neat spot just west of Freeport, FL, called Basin Bayou.  It is has undeveloped camping on a little 2-track road about 1/2 mile in from Rte. 20. We were the only ones there for the night, and fortunately the weather behaved, as there was a huge dead tree hanging over the camper, we of course realized after we had set up. We have finally got it in our heads to check for that kind of thing, after a piece of dead tree came down through the awning in the middle of the night, at Okefenokee back in November.