Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Next Two Vacations

Our next two significant vacations are going to be familiar territory. This month we'll be returning directly to a place we haven't visited since 2007: Blackwater Falls State Park in northern West Virginia.

Our initial reason for going there in February was to enjoy the snow. However, it looks as if we're going to be there during a period of warmer weather and we'll miss our chance at snow sports. We won't get to enjoy the sledding slope they have in the park, and I won't get to try my hand (or legs) at cross-country skiing. Crap!

But we'll fill our days enjoying the fantastic scenery that Mother Nature provides in the Mountain State. One place that I'm going to hit that I've wanted to see for some time is Cathedral State Park. It's the last surviving patch of virgin hemlock forest in the entire state of West Virginia. The trees, I hear, are still free of the hemlock wooly adelgid that has obliterated our hemlock forests in Georgia, North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and Virginia. It'll be great to witness such a forest.

Blackwater Falls.

The Blackwater River.

Me, standing on the lip of the Blackwater Canyon.

The Canyon from Lindy Point.

Seneca Rock, also in West Virginia. We won't likely have time to see it this trip.

Me, in Bear Rocks near Dolly Sods Wilderness. Another place we likely won't have the time to see this trip up.

After that, late in the Spring, we're headed down to Florida. We're going to hit a spot in the state where we've driven but never camped. I don't have any photos of the specific area where we'll be staying on that trip, but here are a few blasts from the past.

When I was a kid, we lived just across the Georgia/Florida border and I was actually kind of bored with the state, since we spent so much time there visiting relatives. But now that I'm older I've discovered so much natural beauty in Florida that I love going down there to vacation.

Of course Carole and I don't hit the places that 90% of the tourists hit. We don't do the amusement parks and the beaches are not generally our favored haunts when we're there. We really enjoy the rivers and the first and second magnitude freshwater springs that dot the karst topography of Florida. And I have to say that, with the possible exception of West Virginia, Florida has the finest system of state parks on the east coast of North America.

Blue Springs, from 2008.

Standing inside the resisting snag of a dead monster cypress, 2008.

Great blue heron, a really great predator of our forests and rivers.

Mr. Alligator. I enjoy seeing them in the low country.

Live oaks and Spanish moss.

No comments: