It’s Spring break time! We’ve been planning an adventurous journey to Florida for months now and the day finally arrived a couple of weekends ago. We woke up before sunrise and drove to Albany, NY to pick up a train to NYC. Andrew was super excited to travel by train. We arrived in NYC and had a couple of hours to waste before our Silver Meteor train left the station, so we decided to stretch our legs in the Big Apple by walking to the Apple Store. We realized we forgot a plug to charge Andrew’s iPod. With Lindsay’s trusty phone we found our way to the Apple Store and along with hundreds of others, we took the spiral staircase down into the underground store.
After successfully buying the plug we needed, we headed out into Central Park.
They were still ice skating in the park right next to kids throwing a baseball! This was the start of the rushed spring weather the northeast would experience over the next couple of weeks. But we were headed where the weather was even warmer. We walked our way back to Penn Station just in time to pick up our train to Florida. It had been a long time since either one of us took a train for a long distance, and we were both looking forward to the experience.
The seats were comfy and spacious. After lounging the seat back, lifting the foot rest, and lifting the leg rest, we knew we would be able to sleep in our lounge seats. But before we slept we had to check out the rest of the train. We settled in at the cafe car and ate dinner in the dining car with a couple of traveling women on their way to North Carolina.
Back in our seats we watched the scenery turn dark. We used Lindsay’s phone to track our progress on google maps. But the long day of traveling from the White Mountains had caught up with us and we pulled out our camping pillows and Lindsay pulled out her sleeping bag to snuggle under. It wasn’t an entirely sound sleep, but when we woke up at 7 am we were already in Georgia! The train had been making stops along the entire trip and there were fewer people on it now. After 19 hours since NYC, we pulled into Jacksonville, FL at 9:30 am and we were ready to begin our Florida vacation.
The rental car picked us up and we quickly made our way about 1 hour south to our first camping spot: Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park.
In Florida, almost all the state parks (at least the ones in the interior of the state) regularly do controlled burning to maintain the natural ecosystem and reduce wild-fire danger. We immediately saw evidence of burning on the trunks of the palm trees and Lindsay demonstrated her knowledge of fires by guessing how long ago the burns took place. We set up camp and quickly checked out the park hiking map for a trail to walk on before our dinner plans.
The Ridge Trail is a 1 mile long trail that takes you from the end of the campground back up toward the front entrance. A small stream cut the channel and created a ravine. The forest is so foreign to our usual New England woods and we stopped often to check out the palms, cactus, and of course the lizards!
We passed one lone hiker who seemed to be enjoying herself. After taking the trail up to the Fern Loop and back to the Loblolly Loop, we needed to make our way to our dinner date with Lindsay’s Grandfather. More Florida adventure blogs are soon to follow (Read now)!
Wildlife Highlights for Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park:
Carolina Satyr Butterfly
Ebony Jewelwing Dragonfly