Monthly Archives: April 2016
I camped out at Little Manatee River as I made my way north through Florida. A nice park with a couple of decent trails. I hiked the Oxbow Nature Trail the afternoon I arrived. It wasn’t too long, and does get out along the river, but the heat of the afternoon called for a shorter hike.
Of all the campsites I had in the Florida parks, I liked Little Manatee the best. Nice big trees, and the sites are not right on top of each other. In fact, the foliage was so thick, Moby Dick could have parked in the next site, and I would have barely noticed.
Canoe rentals are available at the park office, and it’s a nice, relaxing, meandering float. The river is not too wide, and it moved slow.
On the north boundary is a 6.5 mile trail. I did that one early in the day to avoid the afternoon heat. Part of it does follow the river a bit, but the vegetation is thick, so one really sees very little of the Little Manatee.
When I first dropped down into Florida, I camped out in the National Forest west of Tallahassee. I rewired a circuit breaker for the camp host before I had even paid for my site. The host came walking up to my tent that evening with some fat wood for my troubles. I’ve been carrying that resin-soaked kindling around ever since.
In Key Largo, I had a gentleman give me some firewood. The stuff was beautiful! I believe he said it was “live oak”, but I could be mistaken. “You use this stuff in campfires?” I asked. It should be savored in wood stoves in minus forty degree weather, not wasted in fire rings in Florida in the summer. Still, I’ve carried six pieces of that around in my small car too.
As the trip winds down, I’ve grown tired of the wood chips, although the wood scent is nice. In “Highlands” I finally broke down and had two consecutive nights with a campfire. That wood: twisted like northern elm, but grained and heavy like oak, seemed to burn forever. The fat wood I think could have damn near started itself. Wonderful stuff all around.
In the end, I left two pieces of the live oak with some campers who were staying a bit longer. It was beautiful stuff, but I wasn’t going to haul it back to Fairbanks just to feel those BTU’s at -40. Not to say, I did not give it some thought.