Our Aliner Expedition pop up camper

Our Aliner Expedition pop up camper
Our Aliner Expedition pop up camper

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Spring Trip 2021, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Located just south of Gainesville, FL this unique state park is highly diverse with an abundant variety of landscapes and wildlife. The best way to start your visit is by stopping by the visitors center with it's many displays and views of the prairie from the 50 foot high observation tower.

50 foot Observations Tower

Wild horses roaming the prairie

Exhibits on display at the visitors center

Trail to the Observation Tower from the visitors center

The campground is located in a forested highland hammock with lots of shade and good separation from the other sites.

My wife Barbara & our friend Diane at our campsite enjoying a lovely April day

Lake Wauberg is a short hike away. There is a boat ramp to launch your watercraft and picnic shelters for day visitors. There are trails to hike or ride your bike making for a full range of activities to enjoy.

Ranger interpretive center for visitors

Sail boat on Lake Wauberg

Picnic shelter near Lake Wauberg

Lake Wauberg

Fishing pier on Lake Wauberg

The Prairie was formed by a large sink hole that during wet periods floods the low lying areas creating a large lake. These cycles occur as the Florida aquifer fluctuates during extreme weather events. When the area is dry large herds of wild horses and buffalo can be seen wandering the prairie.

View of the prairie from the observation tower

The prairie is 50 miles in circumference 

Buffalo exhibit at the visitors center

A variety of plant life and animal life can be seen on the parks several hiking trails

Long tailed exotic lizard 

Hiking trail loop near the visitors center

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a great place for a day visit or to camp out. We were pleasantly surprised and plan to go back during our travels in the future.



Spring Trip 2021 Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, High Springs, FL

Located west of High Springs, FL near the banks of the beautiful Santa Fe river
is Florida's newest state park Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park The park was 
purchased from the original owners to preserve this natural wonder that has attracted
campers and fresh water spring lovers for years.

Blue Springs Head Waters

Blue Springs stays at a constant 72 degrees year round. The waters of the spring flow
out the spring run a quarter mile to the Santa Fe river. The water is crystal clear and full of colorful plant and aquatic wildlife. 

The Blue Spring run 

Turtles enjoying the warm April sun 

Kayak and Canoe rentals are available at the park. Paddlers can enjoy the waters of 
the Santa Fe river and the many springs that line it's shores. Ginnie Springs is located down river about a mile. Ginnie Springs is a privately owned campground with multiple small springs located on the property. It is known for its underwater spring cave diving and family atmosphere. A great place to escape the hot and humid summers in Florida.

Ginnie Springs 

During our visit we enjoyed our location close
 to the spring head making for easy access with our equipment. The park is upgrading it's campsites and facilities with future plans to improve the unpaved road that leads into the park.

Our campsite

kayak and canoe rentals

Picnic shelter

Guard shack on the left and camp store on the right 

We enjoyed paddling the waters of the Sante Fe stopping for a picnic at Rum Island, a short paddle up river from the spring run. Rum Island Spring and Park has a nice spring that is adjacent to the Santa Fe river. It is roped off to keep paddlers out of the headwaters. The cool clear waters of the spring are delightfully refreshing for visitors who visit this park either by it's docking area or by car.

Paddlers on the Santa Fe River

Rum Island head spring as seen from the Santa Fe River

Cypress Trees line the banks of the Santa Fe River

Gilchrist has a lovely loop trail that will take you to a number of small springs that are surrounded by old cypress groves and lush plant life. The area around this beautiful park is full of beauty that is hard to beat when you are looking for a cool shady place to relax.

Tent camping area

Fresh water spring adjacent to the hiking trail

Cypress groves are common in the park

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Fall Trip 2020, Vogel State Park, Blairsville, GA

 Vogel State Park

Lake Trahlyta

Located in the north Georgia in the southern portion of the appalachian mountains Vogel State Park is in the shadow of Blood mountain, the second highest mountain in Georgia. The area is forested with many places to explore nearby. The camp grounds are nestled in an old growth forest with clean restrooms and lots of campsites. Lake Trahlyta is adjacent to the visitors center with cabins near the lake for those who are not campers. The lake is popular for anglers who fish the lake shores for large mouth bass and trout. 

My brother Danny at our campsite in Vogel State Park

Lake Trahlyta has a one mile hiking trail that encircles the lake.

Not far from Vogel State Park is Neel's Gap. The Appalachian Trail begins here with facilities for hikers to begin or end there journey through the mountains. Great views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are big attraction here. There is a gift store and picnic tables that are great for visitors who choose to stop for lunch and enjoy the fresh mountain air. 

 Neel Gap on the Appalachian Trail

View of the late autumn foliage from Neel's Gap

My Brother Danny and I at Neel Gap

Hikers shoes hanging from a tree at the southern end of the
Appalachian Trail, What a story they could tell.

Gift store and cafe at Neel Gap

Just north of Vogel State Park is the the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center dedicated to the renowned Appalachian poet and novelist. The grounds are a great tribute to this very talented poet who gained inspiration from the nature that surrounded his family farm nestled in the mountains of northern Georgia. My brother and I enjoyed walking the grounds filled with historic buildings and common grounds that reflect the beauty that surrounds this special place. It is definitely a place to check out it you are traveling through this scenic section of northern Georgia.

The farm buildings that have been restored to there original state

The mountain stream that flows through the grounds

A goat and a donkey kept a watch fall eye out for food and a pet on the forehead

The old barn silhouetted against the back drop of the changing autumn leaves

An inspirational poem by Bryon Herbert Reece

 The Appalachian mountains surround this area with a rugged beauty

Land of the dancing rabbits

If you are in this area you will find that it is worth you while to take time to explore Vogel State Park and surrounding area. You will find a good deal of nature and beauty here that is well worth you time to seek to enjoy.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fall Trip 2020, Tallulah Gorge State Park, North Georgia

 Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge State Park is located in north Georgia in the foothills of the appalachian mountains. The Gorge is breath taking with it's series of falls and steep cliffs that provide for great views as you hike along the many rim trails that surround this area. There is a suspension bridge at the bottom of the gorge that visitors can hike down to for a great view from within the gorge. The campgrounds here are very nice with electric and water. The fall colors here are spectacular in late October with crisp cool days and lovely nights for campfires. The restrooms are clean and well kept. The staff here is friendly and helpful to the campers.

Our campsite at Tallulah Gorge State Park

The fall colors are spectacular in late October

The Interpretative Center is where some the trails to the Gorge begin

Suspension bridge at the bottom of the gorge

Tallulah River Gorge

There are many great views from the rim trails

As a resident of the state of Florida I have found that Georgia State Parks are well maintained and staffed with good people who care for their visitors. 

My brother Danny at our campsite. 

The bath house at Tallulah was covenant with washers and dryers.

Danny and I at an overlook in the Gorge

My brother and I enjoyed our late October visit to Tallulah Gorge State Park. I am happy to be in Georgia to celebrate his 72nd birthday on October 29th.