Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fire in the Campground

On our way south, we made a brief stop in Hobe Sound, Florida. This was a great place to spend a little time on the water. Betsy and I caught the kayak fishing bug and love to float around casting a line over and over. Every now and then we actually catch something!
Paddling the Loxahatchee River on a beautiful day.
While in the area we camped at Jonathan Dickinson State Park where we were in close proximity to an array of water bodies. Across the street from the park is the Indian Lagoon Intracoastal Waterway and a mile past that is the Atlantic Ocean. Within the park flows a beautiful stretch of the Loxahatchee River. The Loxahatchee (which is a Native American Indian word for “turtle”) is one of the country’s “Wild and Scenic Rivers” and only one of two in the state of Florida. It is easy to see why this river holds that designation when you are paddling the peaceful slow moving river that gently meanders its way to Jupiter Inlet and the ocean.
The Jupiter Lighthouse has guided mariners through the Jupiter Inlet since 1860.
After climbing 105 steps up the lighthouse this is your view of the Intracoastal waterway and the
Loxahatchee River flowing into the ocean.
The day that we arrived at the park, the ranger fire crew were conducting a controlled burn (also called a prescribed fire). Parts of the park were covered in thick smoke which blackened the sky. Orange flames danced along the ground and embers floated by as we drove past the fire. The burn went on  well into the evening and gave us a beautiful sunset. There was no reason to worry about the fire getting out of control and burning the campground because that already happened about 4 years ago. The controlled burn became “uncontrolled” and led to a wildfire that not only burned inside the park, but jumped Route 1 and continued to burn.
Awesome view of the burnt orange sky and our motorhome.
I'm glad I have experience with wildland firefighting to know not to worry.
One area the wildfire burned was Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge located across the street. Hobe Sound NWR turned out to be a great place to visit with Spirit as well as try our luck fishing. The refuge is small (approximately 1,000 acres) in terms of land managed under the National Wildlife Refuge System but protects some of the most vital habitats in Florida, such as sandy beaches for nesting sea turtles and sand-pine-scrub habitat which is restricted to Florida and a small portion of  Alabama. The refuge is supported by the Hobe Sound Nature Center, Inc. a local, non-profit  organization that promotes environmental awareness and stewardship. Armies of volunteers help the small staff run the center and conduct outreach programs. The Nature Center has a really nice exhibit hall, education center, and gift shop. A few steps away from the Nature Center are trails that lead you through the imperiled sand-pine-scrub habitat to the Intracoastal waterway. If you are lucky on your walk, you may see one of the 40 rare species that inhabit the refuge like the scrub jay or gopher tortoise.
Hurricane Wilma completely destroyed the last building and brought the Hobe Sound National Wildlife
Refuge and Nature Center new facilities.
The exhibit hall has a great mix of live animals, interactive exhibits and dioramas.
We ended our trip with a night out for dinner with a new-found friend that we met at Myakka River State Park. C.C. was great fun for us while camped at Myakka and since she lives in Stuart near Hobe Sound, she met up with us and took us to dinner, highlighting places in Stuart for us to visit. She even took us to our first Asian ice cream bar where you self-serve small portions of ice cream and ices like you would find at a wine bar.  To make it even better, there is every imaginable topping which you can add.  The whole lot gets weighed and paid for by the ounce (or pound if you are really hungry). Thanks C.C. We hope to catch up with you again.
Spirit having a great time in the campground chewing on ... who knows what!
Florida has such beautiful state parks so we hope to camp at as many as are available. They fill up quickly so we continue to watch the internet to see when cancellations occur. We were lucky to find open sites in two more parks down the Keys so we are headed that way looking forward to the beautiful drive surrounded by azure blue ocean where we will soon be fishing again!

More pictures of the park below.
The Hobe Mountain Tower gives one a great view of the park, the intracoastal, and the ocean.  The
tower is located on the 86-foot high Hobe Mountain an ancient sand dune.
This is one of the many off-road bike trails.  I'm not sure why someone would
want to go ride down a trail called the "Gator Hole."
Much of the sand-pine-scrub habitat looks like this.  The pines are dead from the wildfire
and Hurricane Wilma.
Miles of the Florida Trail wind through the park.
Wide open campground but lots of space between sites.



2 comments:

  1. Well if y'all just are going all over. Spirit looks like she's growing by leaps and before long she is going to be driving that rig. Stay safe.

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  2. I do love me some Florida. And, it turns out that I love me a lot of Arizona, too. Warm air and blue skies: wherever they're at, what's not to love?

    Roxanne
    The Good Luck Duck

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