January 17, 2012

We Love Florida State Parks

Tim and I finally dragged ourselves away from our home for the last three days and did a little touring in Crystal River before driving north.  We searched for manatees in Kings Bay, one of the best places in the world to observe these amazing animals, but we struck out. They must have been hiding today. 

We had much better luck at the Crystal River Archaeological State Park.  No, we didn’t see manatees, but we were able to explore a pre-Columbian ceremonial Indian-mound complex. Native Americans who lived in this area until about 500 years ago built the mounds along Crystal River.  Both temple mounds and burial mounds are found here, representing hierarchical, social and religious activities by the inhabitants.  Three cultural periods are represented, and there is evidence of trade relationships from all over eastern North America.

One of the Burial Mounds
First Temple Mound
View of Crystal River from First Temple Mound
A Vertical Limestone Slab, or Stele, A.D. 440
Can You Find the Face
In the Stele?
Sketch of the Face
In the Stele

Tim was intirgued with the Crystal River site and how the State of Florida has interpreted and developed educational opportunities there.  It was interesting for me to view the site through Tim’s eyes.

Can I Dig?
Sifting for Technology
We drove north through a forgotten part of Florida and turned westward into the Florida panhandle.  We’re spending the night at Ochlockonee River State Park, just south of Sopchoppy, Florida (what a great name!).  Tim and I are loving Florida’s state park system, particularly the campgrounds.  We stayed at Hillsborough River State Park near Tampa last week and were surprised to find many of the amenities of a private campground (electric and water hookups) with the lovely natural setting of a park.

The campground at Ochlockonee River State Park, which is situated among the beautiful pine flatwoods of north Florida, is even nicer than Hillsborough River, since it’s much smaller.  The facilities at both parks are amazingly clean.  Kitty loves the parks since there are so many squirrels to chase.  Here, there are even white squirrels, which we managed to catch a glimpse of.

Pine Flatwoods
at Ochlockonee Stae Park
Light Through the Pines

Kitty Likes the Park


  1. We have mounds here in WV too. North of us near the Ohio River I think. Pretty fascinating, especially as they are so old. Love the pic of the light thru the pines. LV

  2. LV, That's really cool. I never knew that. I wonder if those are somehow related to the Hopewell mounds in Ohio that I visited earlier in the trip. Sarah

  3. I am sorry that Tim didn't get to visit the Hopewell Mounds with us, it would have been interesting to see those through his eyes. But then again that cute ranger, who says he wears his hat, wouldn't have spent as much time with us....

  4. Jane, I agree that we would have gotten more out of Hopewell mounds if Tim had been with us. However, you do make a good point! Sarah