12/18/18. Chiefland, FL

DAY #59

Another beautiful day in Florida, I’m a lucky guy. Started out the day by taking a walk to the river. Strolling out along the boardwalk I didn’t see anything (critter wise), but coming back, a different story. There were two couple’s looking out over the inlet (between spring & river), and I asked if they had seen anything? They said yea, we’re looking at these big fish. I went and looked and they were right, you could see Aligator Gar near the surface and man, they were big! Then looking across the water you could see the turtles sunning on a log.

As we’re looking at the turtles, one of the guys says, hey it’s an alligator. We all go to look and sure enough, there it was.

Looks like a hook and broken line on its back.
Or maybe just wants to be cool and it’s a piercing.

It was so cool to see all these fascinating creatures in one spot. This was a major fun moment.

Then it was off to check on the manatees. They were there, just hanging out. The sun was in front of me so I couldn’t get any decent photo’s. It would be nice if I could get closer, but just seeing them is pretty cool.

After conferring with my navigator (google maps), headed out to the destinations for the day, first, Suwannee and then on to Horseshoe Bay.

Suwannee is about an hour to an hour and a half from the park (depending on which route you take), and the ride along the way is typical of this area. Trees, trees and more trees (heard that before?). One change, you’re beginning to see are more palms mixed in with the cedars. Along with the trees, are pastures and cattle, and occasionally you’ll see a field where something is being grown, but not sure what (dormant time of year).

This part of Florida is really nice. It’s rural, relatively undeveloped, and still has a hint of southern charm to it. The climate is more like a temperate one with a splash of tropics. I’m thinking maybe this is Florida’s last frontier.

You take the road as far as it goes and when it ends you’re in Suwannee, Fl.

The town lies at the mouth of the Suwannee river as it flows into the Gulf. It’s a quiet, hidden away place tucked into the salt marsh.

Old Boat Lift.

From the laid back fishing & retirement hamlet, I headed to Horseshoe Bay which according to google, was an hours drive away. I mapped it out to take the ride through the Lower Suwannee wildlife refuge. You want to see Florida as it is in all its nakedness? Take a drive through a wildlife refuge. Wow, every time I do, it’s with a mixture of excitement and fear and this trip was no different. It was a great drive.

So cool to get this photo.

With the heavy rains come high water and I was getting concerned when I started to run in (or through) it on the road.

The further I went the more frequent the water appeared, and the more my concern rose. When a couple of vehicles pass me from the other way, I felt way better and ta da…I made it back to paved road.

On to Horseshoe Bay. It’s another small town tucked away along the Gulf. To me it gave off a different vibe from other places on the Gulf. No sand beaches to speak of, it seemed almost rocky.

Just a beautiful place.
You can find shrimp for sale in the area.

Time to head pack to camp, and this time, taking pavement all the way. You find timber harvesting around these parts as well. I understand these trees are being grown as any crop (certainly not virgin timber), but still, I hate to see the clear cutting.

I went through Cross City and what I saw gave me an answer to the question; what do they do with the timber? A couple of plants were making mulch. Those bags of mulch you put around your trees, edging, etc. I also saw another smaller operation producing lumber (2×4?)

Hit the Wal-Mart lot to record the events of today, and then back to the park for the night.