Beach in the Forest…And Just One More Gator Story
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.
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!
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