Beach in the Forest…And Just One More Gator Story

Beach in the Forest. What a combo!

So, we’re almost at the end of our time in Florida. We decided to spend our last few days here in a little State Forest in the “inner Panhandle”. It was a bit of a “just point at the map” kind of choice and we really had no idea what it would be like, but it seems the winds of luck are with us and it’s turned out to be a really neat stop.

Blackwater River is one of the purest white-sand bottomed rivers in the world. The snow-white quartz sand here is the same stuff that’s on the coast and Blackwater River meanders through the tall pine-trees leaving banks of the stuff draped in sandbars along the curves. What it becomes is beach in the forest and it’s home to one of Florida’s most iconic and beautiful Canoe trails. It’s truly gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Gators…this is how they do it in the Panhandle

And then, of course, there’s still the gators. Now, it must be at least 4 or 5 posts since I’ve last mentioned them, but darn it, I just can’t help it. Up here it seems there’s a whole new approach to the beasts which has probably got something to do with the history of the area. The Panhandle was always considered a bit of a Wild West kind of place. Tallahassee is an Apalachee Indian word meaning “old town” or “abandoned fields”. By the 1830’s it had the reputation of being an outlaw frontier which Ralph Waldo Emerson called “a grotesque place…rapidly settled by public officers, land speculators, and desperadoes.”

So, I guess I can’t blame that some of the ‘ol Cowboy attitude still lingers. Up here, you see they don’t tell you not to go in the lakes, but rather give you the more independent advice to “Swim with Caution”. Having read the rules, I can just picture the exchange:

“Honey, do you perchance see any gators” I ask
“Nope” says the Frontier man scanning the horizon
“Okie dokie, then I think I will just go for a quick dip” says the juicy Scandinavian

A few moments elapse while said piece of meat splashes in the water

“Sweetie, would you mind terribly nipping off to the Ranger Station to let them know an Alligator is approaching”

Yes, this is Florida, and yes, I am rather Gator obsessed, but you gotta admit it’s funny stuff. So, with a chuckle and our toes in the sand, we’ll say adieu to our time here and hello to Alabama. It’s been a wonderful ride, gators and all!

Butt in the's a wonderful feeling
Butt in the sand…it’s a wonderful feeling

Late afternoon at Blackwater River
Late afternoon at Blackwater River
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Patricia says

    We are not yet RVers but I have to tell you that your writings are very tempting to become ones. You sound like you have so much fun in your discoveries of travel and your talent of expressing these wonders is done with such flair and grand description. It makes it impossible to stop reading and a true joy to share in your adventures. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • libertatemamo says

      Goodness! Well, thank you for the lovely compliment! It’s such a joy to me that people enjoy the blog, so really appreciate the feedback. Nina

  2. says

    When we eventually get to Florida for the winter, I am going to have to go back and read every single word of your blog again before planning! Of course, I hope I can also manage some spontaneous moments like this one as well. I also hope that I can kayak the rivers with the gators without being afraid. I will NOT swim, however. Thanks again for a wonderful, informative post. I do love the gators. A favorite image is the large mural on the wall at Payne’s Prairie of gator eyes at night on the water.

  3. Rick says

    Helloooo Paul and Nina: I have taken that same road on the way to Daytona bike week several times. My son and I used to ski the Ochlocknee river. Nice rout. The weather has been nice ah? Cool, dry, sunny. Life is good! If it fits your flight plan, give Cathy and I a buzz. We are in South Houston close to I45 south.

    • libertatemamo says

      Rick, Yeah, weather has been awesome!! We may well come through Houston so I’ll ship you guys an e-mail when we do. We’re considering boondocking at Sea Rim South of Houston…have you been there? What do you think? Nina

  4. Candace says

    We thoroughly enjoyed your Florida gator tales (or should I say tails?) I lived in both Davie and Ocala so relived many old memories during your reviews of Markham at Christmas. And Alafia SP is now on our list of FLA SP to visit when we get back to the east coast – thanks to your great pics & comments.

    We currently live near Tombstone and would like to treat you, hubby and of course all your travelling companions to dinner (t-bones preferred) when you are in this area. Since SP’s are your favorite parking spots Karchner Caverns SP in Benson is your best bet for SE Arizona.

    Let us know when you are heading this way and we’ll block out time for a nice visit. Sierra Vista is at 4500′ elevation, so our climate is “hi desert” and about 15 degrees cooler than Tucson – just 90 miles west.

    • libertatemamo says

      Candace, What a lovely offer!! Tombstone is definitely one of the spots we want to visit. Not sure exactly when we’ll get there, but we will definitely look you up when we do! I love meeting people on the road! Nina

  5. says

    Not only are your stories well written, they are short, to the point, colorful. As for your photos, they are clear, sharp, natural color, and very creative – – the back side of a dog sitting in the sand, the flipflops telling the feeling of the sand, etc. Are we enjoying following your blog? You bet!

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