Tuesday, April 3, 2012

O'Leno State Park - High Springs, Florida

O'Leno State Park was our first stop on our return home after pulling up stakes in Venice.

We love Camp Venice Retreat, but we were happy to get back to "real Florida" and stay in a state park.

The back seat of the truck is dedicated to plants as we try to bring home our collection of plants accumulated during the last three months spent in southwestern Florida. We had a lovely campsite looking out into the woods. At night, there were so many fireflies it appeared as if someone had strung Christmas lights throughout the park. We didn't have the right camera equipment to capture the sight. Bummer, because it was really amazing.

We spent one full day and two nights in the park. Yesterday morning was occupied with problems back home with the house. Thankfully, Tom and Jayne came to our rescue and helped us through the situation. Let's just say, "you never miss the water 'til the well runs dry." We'll have some repair work to do when we get home, but everything is safe until our return. Thank heavens for family!!!

After we spent the morning on the phone, we went for a hike. There is a swing bridge that crosses the Santa Fe River, which runs through the park.

Most of the structures in the park were built by the CCC. There used to be a town where the park is located. The town was originally named Keno, after the popular gambling game.

In the 1800's, "ecclesiastical influences" pressured the town to change the name from Keno to Leno. Clever. Then, in the late 1800's the railroad passed the town by and it died away. Over time, the spot became known as "Old Leno."  As the southern dialect is known to elide their consonants, old Leno became "O'Leno" and therefore the park bears that name. I love that kind of stuff. 

And, we love our hikes in the woods. And, a beautiful hike it was.

The trail followed the river.

Hiking in state parks gives us an idea of the original native habitat. Okay, so we're tree huggers.

We did a swamp walk in the Everglades, but there is no way I would stick a toe in the water here!

Can you see the big turtles on the log in the following picture? I've never seen so many in one hike.

What is probably of most significance in the park is that the Sante Fe River drops into a "sink" and disappears underground for three miles.

This is the spot. Behind this pond, no water.

I expected a tumbling waterfall into the ground like Devil's Kettle on the North Shore.

But, Paul reminded me there is very little elevation change in the entire state.

Even if there were no rapids, it was still beautiful!

Except for one thing, it was unbelievably warm yesterday. I look forward to wearing a sweatshirt!

We're now on the Florida Panhandle for ten days. Main goal? Seafood consumption. 

We'll talk to you soon. 


Jamie and Missy said...

I'll have to reference these blog posts later when Zuel and I purchase our own Bauxite Betsy. Keep the tree hugging posts coming.
P.S. I can't remember if her name is Betsy or Betty.

qwerkyqook said...

cool pictures. include some seafood recipes eh?

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, gorgeous photos. And ufda, that is hot!!

I'm w/ Suzanne - include seafood recipes. :)

I am glad you are having a good trip back! Miss you guys and can't wait to see you when you are back!!

Abby said...
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Abby said...

Gorgeous photos! I bet the fireflies was an amazing site to see! These photos make me really want to go on a camping trip!

Abby said...

Gorgeous photos! I bet the fireflies was an amazing site to see! These photos make me really want to go on a camping trip!

Marlys said...

That is hot, and I'm sure, humid! It is in the 60's here so quite comfortable! Scenery is beautiful & serene! Enjoy the seafood!