I camped in the Apalachicola National Forest along the Ochlockonee River. Driving in, I had seen a small black bear that couldn’t decide if he wanted to cross the road or not.
I hadn’t planned on staying in one of the official campsites, but thought I’d drive into one to check it out. I was surprised to find a camp host, although there were no other campers. The hosts were a local couple, he was 75 and she was 59; they had met 6 years ago and had been spending much of their time camping and fishing Florida’s panhandle together.
It turns out that their camper had no electricity, and of course, I was put to work. After a quick rewire of a circuit breaker and the elimination of a section of bare wire, they had power again.
And I had a campsite.
A beautiful night, if a bit muggy for this Alaskan. I had been invited down to share a campfire with the hosts, and we enjoyed a nice conversation around the fire comparing life in Florida and Alaska. It was going to be just one night of camping in the forest, since some severe weather was heading in and three inches of rain was called for. As it was, the hosts told me I had just missed the same in southern Georgia.
Black vultures have been everywhere. A string of them were dining on a roadkill carcass when I came along. They had no intention at all of moving for the Nissan, and I really didn’t want to hit any with it either. I’ve had to wind my way through herds of moose, bison and caribou, but this was the first time I’ve had to do it for buzzards.
I spotted another black bear, this one quite large. Right after that, I came around a sharp corner and startled a vulture. The vulturus, Latin for “tearer”, almost flew right through the open passenger window. It’s wingspan was wider than the window, and it rose just enough that I could catch the sight of its wing through the glass t-top. What an event that would have been. Grabbing a buzzard head with one hand, opening the driver’s window with the other, and steering with my knees.
Next time, I need to remember the Go-Pro.