Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ormond Beach, Tomoka State Park/ Bulow Creek State Park

After writing my last entry and looking at all the pictures taken from the parks I visited I realized that I did not post them here and there was so much more about this place to share that it deserved its own entry. The first stop on Ormond Beach was Tomoka Sate Park, Native Americans once dwelled here, living off fish-filled lagoons. Today, these waters are popular for canoeing, boating, and fishing. The park protects a variety of wildlife habitats and endangered species, such as the West Indian manatee. Tomoka is a bird-watcher's paradise, with over 160 species sighted, especially during the spring and fall migrations. Visitors can stroll a one-half mile nature trail through a hardwood hammock that was once an indigo field for an 18th century British landowner. A boat ramp gives boaters and canoeists access to the river. The Park Store offers snacks, camping supplies, and canoe rentals. For overnight stays, the park has full-facility campsites and youth camping. Located three miles north of Ormond Beach on North Beach Street.

This park really does offer a little bit of everything, from hiking, fishing, to off-road driving and scenic areas to just enjoy a good picnic.

Next up was Bulow Creek protects nearly 5,600 acres, more than 1,500 of which are submerged lands. The highlight of Bulow Creek is one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forest along Florida's east coast. The reigning tree is the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the South. For more than 400 years it has been a silent witness to human activities along Bulow Creek, including the destruction of the neighboring Bulow Plantation during the Second Seminole War in 1836. Several trails allow hikers to explore the interior of the park, where visitors can see white-tailed deer, barred owls and raccoons. The Bulow Woods Trail, nearly seven miles long, takes hikers to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. Visitors can picnic in a shady pavilion or at a table on the lawn within view of the Fairchild Oak.

* Note: Before you keep on reading and enjoying the pictures (hopefully) let me clarify that the descriptions of both parks were borrowed from the state's website for each park, and I would like to encourage you to stop by the state parks website at http://www.floridastateparks.org/ and maybe even plan an adventure for yourself.

After this park there are still more than 40 miles of scenic drive to go and miles of trails to hike and just not enough time in a day (or a week end for that matter, lol) also there was a north entrance to Tomoka state park that I still wanted to check out.

On the way out of Ormond Beach there was the Ormond Beach Yacht Club, that is now a historic site and museum.

I really hope you enjoy these pictures, take care and be safe!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Daytona 500 2012 (what should've been)

At this point I have had a few trips under my belt, both by myself and with company, yet somehow anticipation crept up on me and I was feeling like I did for my first trip. I guess that is not the worst thing that can happen, matter of fact quite the opposite as I grow fonder of camping.

This trip was a planned urban camping trip that I was determined to make an "off the beaten path" one. Getting some so much needed time outdoors, but also I little time with my dad whom I haven't seen since he was released from the hospital back in November.

The campground Daytona Beach KOA was actually nice, and had an area for tents, small trailers and pop up campers that somewhat resembled a state park campground with trees, and an open field that accommodated everyone very well.

Thursday was driving in day, and setting up not much else since I like to be on the road early to avoid all traffic, which means going to be early that evening.

Friday morning spent at "The world's most famous beach" for a 3 mile walk along with other exercises, after all these years I still need my morning work out by the sea.

In the afternoon a drive to Kissimmee to see my dad and get some dinner with him and his significant other.

For Saturday I had planned to visit Tomoka state park, and although I was feeling lazy at first I talked myself into going, and boy am I glad I did. The park is full of trails to hike thru, fishing areas and picnic tables that sit overlooking the water. The campgrounds in the park are phenomenal, and all the while is off road driving, even with a section that used to be their "dump" that is now open to hikers, bicycles, and vehicles (I wouldn't recommend driving a non four wheel drive vehicle thru). After driving off road all over the park I continued to drive the area outside the park at one of the ranger's recommendation to the north entrance of the park, and the biggest oldest oak tree all thru a scenic route that was filled with wild life that if one wasn't paying attention might miss (or run over, as was the case with a tortoise that would have gotten ran over by the next vehicle after me, of course I stopped traffic and moved the turtle to safety, lol) along the way there were alligator crossing marks across the road, ruins of old building, and all kind of birds too. This place was so captivating that I have to come back just to explore it and attempt to document its beauty to share it with everyone else.

Sunday race day! Or so I thought, from problems at the "will call" with the tickets to the rain delay, that eventually became a postponement of the race (first time in 54 years of the event). Joe and I decided to make the best of the soggy, cold situation by walking to the Hooters across the track where we stood in line outside for a table for about 40 min. Still worth waiting since at the time there was no decision made on moving the race back, and what better place to do it at, right? Long story short we waited until the decision was made to postpone the race and in the meantime made new friends and almost made up for the lack of racing.

When I sat down to finish this blog entry I almost decide to not publish it since well, this trip was quite not as planned, but then I remembered that like life itself its about the journey and not the destination. With that said this was a great example of it, where friendships were strengthen, nature was breath taking and the journey was an amazing one!