Day 3Florida State Parks
We started at Henderson which happens to be in the downtown shopping hub of Destin. Yup you can roll out of your swanky RV and run across a four lane highway to grab a hot Starbucks and by a designer beach tog. (what is a beach tog?) We wondered what you got for $30 a day in at Henderson State Park.
Wow what more could you ask for? I am thinking privacy, a tree, a fire ring? I love sleeping in a tent on a concrete pad! How about you? Drove the entire campground and not one tent. Playing jarts in the middle of the paved road and not happy campers that they had to stop as you drove by. We waved, they flipped us off. I wanted to yell out the window; Hey, we left our angry kid at home with the dog!!! but I refrained and smiled. We crossed this one off the list and headed east to..........
Topsail State Park
The state of Florida has cloned their welcome guy! All in the same uniform, happy smile, beard, wire frame glasses, about 5'8" (perfect for sticking his head out the welcome box) and says; $6 and here's a map. Very friendly guy but uncanny how they all look alike!
By this time I was ready for a hike anywhere but a beach. Topsail has two fresh water lakes and a beach. Don't try and stop me I am headed to the lake. We are from Ohio where a hike constitutes, hills, dirt trails, wild flowers, critters of some sort and occasional friendly hikers. As a retired park ranger I have been in a few parks. I tend to lean toward the primitive areas. Here is what we ran into........
Hey, are we at Disney World? No walking, they cart your big butt around on this thing! On paved roads no less. We looked at the map and said we are hiking. Butch took the map first and I thought there might be a problem when he turned the map upside down and then on end. Ummmm what are you doing? Getting my bearings. Thinking there are 1637 acres to hike, getting your bearings might be at the top of my list. I grab the map while hiking around the parking lot, looking for a sand trail into the woods. Nothing......... we start down the paved the Tram road. We came to a crossroads; looked to the left and saw land yacht parking. Honey look, those same angry kids throwing things. Pictured below is primitive RV camping.
(this is NOT camping!)
or camping in your giant RV next to the fat shack. Grab your Cheetos and hop on the TRAM while the State of Florida hauls your butt down to the beach.
OK and one more rant before I move on ......... If you own a fat pug (as in short cute little dog that fits in a beach bag and can no longer breath through their nose due to over breeding) keep him OFF the beach! Do you know how many women I saw dragging Pugsley Wugsley through hot sand and the dog is coughing, sputtering and gagging on sand, not too mention having their privates burned off! They are low riders with little tiny paws! They look great staring out the window of your giant RV but they don't four wheel drive! FOR THE LOVE OF DOG, PICK THEM UP ON THE BEACH! Not everything in a pink glitter color is having a good time!
To the right houses. To the north a big park announcement board and more pavement.
We looked at the map, scratched our heads, walked over to the giant announcement board thinking there would be arrows pointing to Lake Campbell but nope just a friendly invite to have breakfast with a ranger on the Turpentine Trail. Here is the picture of the Rangers........ (I am not kidding!)
OMG! Bubba and Buford had followed us from Alabama! No, I don't want breakfast with these two. Thoughts of squirrel omelet passed before my eyes. I was still getting over pasty white gravy people dump on butter laden biscuits at the big breakfast buffet at the hotel.
We decided our best bet was to follow the bike people. Tip: on a paved path you will be run over by rabid cyclists trying to get to the beach or the TRAM. State parks in Florida are not set up for hikers.
These are things you will see along the trail
Where is this on the bird list? And why is it humming?
This is our trail ........
No sneaking up on the wildlife here. The berm is as wide as the snack shack! We continued on, hoping to find a path into the brush. We jumped off the pavement several times to hit dead end trails. No markers, no universal symbols, no color blazes on trees or stakes just follow the pavement folks.
We walked on and finally just flipped out! If the sign said; "DO NOT ENTER". We entered. We couldn't stop ourselves.
This where we ended up.
do you see the garage for wheel chairs?
I have never seen this before and really do applaud the state of Florida for looking out for the handicapped.
and handicapped bathrooms. So much for the joke about the bear pooping in the woods!
I was thinking by now we must be close to Campbell Lake but then I saw it ....... the boardwalk that just went on and on. It was huge and lots of signs about staying off the dunes. I get it! You are preserving the dunes! But how many trees did you cut down to build this board walk?
Just the top hand rail is made of plastic, the nice recycled stuff from all those milk jugs we toss.
Oh look another sign.
I believe it was around 3:30 p.m. and I was heard myself mutter; it's the E'ffen beach. I'm throwing myself into the rip tide. For some reason this sent my fellow hiker & husband into a fit of laughter. Two big lakes and we can't find them! Through his tears of laughter he said; Did you just say; The E'ffen beach. Shooting daggers back....... yes and I hear it's very easy to dig a shallow grave in sand.
THE BEACH....... again.......
JUST KILL ME.......