Today is Christmas Day and what a Christmas it has been. Everyone made out very well this year and enjoyed every minute of it. We had Christmas dinner last night and had everyone over. Everyone then came back over this morning for a big breakfast and to open gifts. It’s a warm one this year and we’ve actually got the a/c going. Was hoping for cooler weather for Christmas, but what can we expect in Florida. Everyone is just going to chill out here for the rest of the day, eat leftovers and play board games and watch movies. I’ve put our Christmas pictures on here, but again, you have to log in to see them. I guess all that is left of this year is New Years Eve. I’ll have more pictures on here then. Then on to 2009!!! Hope everyone’s Christmas was a great one and I hope 2009 is a wonderful year for everyone. Until next time…
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was great…filled with family and way too much food. As always we had everyone here for dinner. Can’t believe Thanksgiving is over and now moving on to Christmas and then a New Year. Where has this year gone? I’m sure everyone is now in shopping mode and counting those dollars. Happy Holidays everyone! May they be the best!!!
This last weekend we packed up the kids and went up to north Florida for some sight seeing and some hiking. Saturday we spent the day at Florida Caverns State Park. This is the only park in Florida with dry cave tours. It’s a 45 minute tour and well worth the time. One area has a formation that looks somewhat like a wedding cake and in fact they sometimes hold weddings there. Thought that was interesting. We did see a couple bats, but they were nice enough to leave us alone. Robert and Devin walked the trail after the tour while Matt and I checked out the gift shop…LOL. We then went to Falling Waters State Park, which has the highest waterfall in Florida, which is only because it falls into a sink hole. It’s 100 feet deep and 20 feet wide. We did not realize it depended on seasonal weather and rainfall and since we haven’t had much rain lately, when we went, it was….well, to put it nicely, not working. There were plenty of boardwalks that overlooked many other sink holes though and that was interesting. After that we went to the Air Force Armament Museum near Eglin Air Force Base. Inside there is warfare armament from the early days of World War I right through to today’s high tech planes and bombs. Outside there is vintage military aircraft including the fastest plane ever built – the SR-71 Blackbird. Wish we would have had more time, but enjoyed the time we did have there. Sunday we spent the afternoon hiking the Garden of Eden Trail. A 3.5 mile round trip self guided trail. There were a couple steep climbs and descents through the trail. It eventually opens up to great view from a bluff 135 feet above the Apalachicola River. A strenuous hike, when you’re use to more flat lands, but well worth the view of the river. Then it was on home. Always good to be back home…..until next time.
We managed to get the entire family out on a train ride this weekend. First time on a REAL train and not one in an amusement park. It was a 25 minute ride out to a pumpkin patch where, as you can guess, you can get pumpkins and there were hay rides and things for the little kids to do. Plenty of old trains to look around at and all in all it was really fun. If your logged in you can see the pictures in our gallery located under the “Family Pics”. Everyone had a good time and the weather was great for it. Other than this, we’ve just been doing the daily grind thing. Keeping up with the kids and their school stuff. Can’t believe it’s almost the holidays. Looking forward to them greatly. Until next time….
We recently bought year passes to Cypress Gardens and I’ve added some pictures we took when we went yesterday. Through out the year the passes are good for, I’m sure I’ll be adding more in that catagory. We really enjoyed this theme park. The boys rode more rides than any other theme park we’ve been to. It’s a nice family park with just about something for everyone, from animals to gardens to ski shows to rides and even a water park area. Can’t beat that!!! Just thought we’d share our pictures with our family and friends. Other than this we’ve just been enjoying the summer time. Haven’t done much hiking due to the heat and humidity…been sticking to the treadmill at home in the a/c. We plan on picking back up on the orienteering after they start again once the hottest summer months are over. As usual…we’ll be adding more pictures often. We’ve got birthdays coming up next month and the month after….
We just returned from our vacation to Georgia. The weather was cold and overcast the first evening which was Sunday, March 30th. We got our camp site set up and had dinner and sat around the campfire and went to bed. It was cold let me tell ya. Living in Florida has really spoiled us. Monday we hiked the Bear Hair Gap Trail, which is 4.1 miles to the top of one of the Blood Mountain foot hills. We went up about 600 feet elevation on this hike and that was an eye opener. Again, Florida has spoiled us, we are use to hiking more miles than that, but not with a 600 foot change in elevation thrown in the mix. We are use to flat hiking. We did it though and the view was worth it all. Pictures just don’t show how beautiful the scenery was from the top. Makes you just want to sit there for hours and take it all in. On our way down it started to drizzle some. We passed a mound of rocks in a tree trunk, very interesting and nothing around to explain what it was all about, but we guessed it was just a way of other hikers to say they’d been there and done that… so we also each chose a rock and put ours there with all the others. I thought that was pretty cool. You’ll see some pics of that in the gallery. By the time we got back to our tent area, it was raining harder and so we just hung out in the tent for 20 minutes or so and then we were able to make dinner and clean up and sit around the campfire for awhile before going to bed, not knowing this was going to be one heck of a night. Rain kept coming off and on all night and about 4:30 in the morning we had to leave the tent and sleep the rest of the night in the car due to our tent leaking. Tuesday we spent most of the day cleaning up and going into a local town to buy a tarp to put over the tent and a few other things. The sun actually came out that day for awhile and it was just what we needed for our tent to dry out. We cooked dinner and and relaxed by the campfire before bed time. Wednesday was also a very nice day and the sun was out so we went around and hiked to about 3 different waterfalls (De Soto, upper and lower falls, Helton Creek Falls and Anna Ruby Falls). We also went into Helen and walked around the main street and looked at all the shops and had a late lunch there. This is a very cute little town and would have liked to have had more time there. Thursday was overcast again and cold, real cold. We went to Brass Town Bald but as we went up the mountain the clouds were so thick we only had about 15 foot visibility in front of us, so needless to say, we didn’t even bother getting out of the car and going to the lookout. We went back to our campsite and had lunch and found the weather forecast for that night and Friday and decided we’d had enough of the cold and wet and packed up and came on home. That was our trip. We really had a great time and loved the mountains and the change of scenery and will certainly go back again. As usual though, it’s always good to be home!!!
The last couple weekends we have stayed close to home for our hiking because of different family visiting and the weather. We went to Manatee River and we already have pictures of that, so we didn’t bother to take anymore, although we should have, with the rain we’ve gotten lately the trees and other plants seem to have grown and gotten greener. We actually saw a rabbit also. I’ll take a rabbit over a snake any day. This coming weekend we are going to Georgia to camp and hike for the week. We plan to take plenty of pictures to put on the website and if we can find any wireless service while we are there, we’ll get them on quickly and have our blogs about where they were taken and what all we did. Looking forward to a change of scenery and and enjoyable vacation. Until next time…
Today we went orienteering at the Croom Tract at Withlacoochee State Forest. This was our second time and this time we did an orange course. We had 10 controls we had to find. We made all 10 in less than 2 and a half hours. Nothing to get excited about, but hey, we finished it and we had fun doing so. All in all it was about 4 miles. This was all in a forest area and some of the time we went off the path and made our own way and the rest of the time we were on either hiking trails or mountain biking paths which were more rugged than the normal hiking path. If you look at the pictures, you’ll see we actually passed a snake out sunning on the trail. It was a cooler day and so it wasn’t very active at all, which was just fine for my taste. Close to the end of our hike we came across a small very old cemetery. Pretty interesting…most of the headstones were from the mid to late 1800’s. There was no sign telling of anything historical or special about it, no information at all. Just a very small grave yard. Florida Orienteering Club does this once a month other than two of the hottest months here in Florida. We plan on being there for them all.
Today we hiked 5.5 miles at Hillsborough River State Park. A lot of the scenery probably looks the same as other areas we’ve been too…that’s just Florida for ya though. We’ve added new photos from the hike today. There is a great suspension bridge there that overlooks the river. Took some good pictures of what they apparently call rapids. Didn’t see any wild life other than some squirrels, a couple owls and some turkey buzzards, and plenty of mosquitoes. The Off really comes in handy back in the boggy areas. No Gators in site and that always makes for a good walk. This is a really nice park though with plenty of scenery and things to see. We had a great day.
We enjoy hiking, camping, and orienteering, and we plan to start backpacking in 2008. We are also planning a hiking trip to The Grand Canyon in ’09. We have pictures of the areas we have hiked in several public albums and will be adding more as we go to different places. We are trying to do as much as we can and spend time with our boys before they are too cool to spend time with mom and dad. We’ll try and put pictures of all our adventures on here to share with our family and friends.