Sunday, October 25, 2015

Clearwater Lake Recreational Area, Ocala National Forest and 3 years of shennanigans...

It's October yet again, and that means candy for most, for me it's time for our second annual trip to the Ocala National Forest! This trip also marks Derek's and I third anniversary of camping, traveling and shenanigans. All I can say is it's been one hell of a ride, so much hiking, camping, driving (sooooo much driving), cooking/eating, and of course brews, lots and lots of brews (both coffee and the fun kind). I heard somewhere that is not about the destination, but about who you travel with, and I can't help but to agree. While traveling alone has never been a problem for me, this last 3 years have been way too much fun and you can see and read some of it on this blog (and my youtube channel these days). But enough about us, and more on this awesome park we camped at.

Clearwater Lake Recreation Area offers a quiet getaway along the southeastern edge of the Ocala National Forest, just outside the community of Paisley, Florida. With a shaded campground, day use picnic area, beach and a nature trail that winds through the pine woods and scrub around Clearwater Lake, this facility has plenty of activities to keep campers occupied.

The Ocala National Forest, in north central Florida, spans four counties and 383,000 acres. It is the southernmost and oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River, and protects the world's largest, contiguous sand pine scrub forest (as borrowed from their website).

Arrival was after dark due to a mechanical difficulty earlier in the day

This was a nice surprise of a view on Saturday morning

One thing I have to say about this place is that the website's description and pictures fall way short of what this place really is like. The campsites are huge, with plenty of shrubbery and trees in between each site, the camp staff is helpful, polite, and very happy to assist with anything, including delivering firewood and ice to the site. The trail around the lake is approximately a mile and a half, and provides plenty of coverage from the sun, and great views of the lake.

After a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning Derek and I went for a walk to check out the park.

Even though there were deer around in large groups, the spiders were much more patient with amateur photographers like me.


After a walk on the trail around the lake my knee needed some rest and some refreshments and lunch were in order, followed by some trail riding and chasing sunsets.


Thanks to rain the prior week there were plenty of opportunities for water crossings. One thing to keep in mind around the Ocala National Forest, and any other water crossing is to always make sure you know the water depth prior to driving thru it.

One of the trails that we took ended up leading to a unpaved road that eventually ran into private property, but managed to provide a beautiful beginning to the sunset.

 At the end of the day the best sunset was right by the lake were we had started, home if you will. Like many other times sometimes you just have to go see and explore to realize that "home is where is at"

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