Monday, February 17th
Green Flamingo Organics
Oak Hill, FL
Another day off – another day of exploration in nearby nature! We decided that the ocean shore nearby was too full of people, fees, rules, and such baloney. So we decided to head west, inland, away from the coast. We both looked at Google Maps separately, and we both picked the exact same spot without knowing it – a little beach on the Saint John River, within a patch of wilderness named the Hickory Bluff Preserve.
We took a meandering drive toward it, pausing to probe down several dead end roads and trails more fit for an ATV than a car.
We arrived to find an empty parking lot and a couple of trailheads – we took the blue trail, toward the river – going first through a dry, sandy palmetto wilderness, and then, as the trail dropped down slightly into the river valley, a gorgeous cypress and live oak forest, with softly swaying curtains of Spanish moss bringing a fantastic atmosphere.
We were both already in love with the place by the time we got to the river, and found a perfect, private beach on the shore of the wide, undeveloped stretch of river – which weirdly flowed from the South to the North, unlike every river I’ve known.
Occasionally, the quiet birdsongs and wind through the trees were interrupted by a passing speedboat – but even this was perfect; each boat made a wake that came splashing to the shore – and Cleo is obsessed with chasing such waves. The sandy shore was ideal for her to dash along the water’s edge, chomping and stomping at the cresting waves (compared to the shores of Lake Superior, for example, where on many shores sharp rocks cut up her pads).
Cleo quickly made the connection, and when the water was still, she would stand and look imploringly up and down stream, waiting for another boat to appear and bring the waves for her.
When the sun went down, we reluctantly left our little paradise, and headed back to civilization.
The drive-through at Frosty King was a perfect way to end the day out with delicious homemade ice cream in a waffle cone.