We reluctantly left Shell Mound for the second time. We definitely will come back here again. Now we are heading up into the panhandle which is called "Florida's Forgotten Coast." Our first stop is Oclocknee River State Park about 200 miles away. After a short provisioning trip to Chiefland, we arrived in the afternoon to a smoky horizon and the smell of wood burning. The signs along the road cited "smoke area."
As we headed down the park road, we saw smoke and flames in the surrounding woods along the road. While frightening to see flames shooting from a tree stump, we reasoned that this was one of the "prescribed burns" we had read about in other Florida parks. This one was happening!
We had a lovely campsite with the Oclocknee River only a 20 yards from our back door. We checked it out but by then it was growing dark. The campground is small with reasonably sized campers and a number of tents. There was no smoke - yet. As we fell asleep, we smelled a faint hint of wood smoke - the wind probably had shifted.
The morning dawned bright and cool (40's). After breakfast, we decided that inland camps were not to our liking. We changed our plans for 6 days in late March to head to the Atlantic coast rather than the north part of the panhandle. We also left Oclocknee River Park and got 2 nights at a commercial campground only 15 miles down the road (it's actually called: Ho-Hum) where we could execute our camping plan changes with the internet (which we're using now to post this update!).
Before leaving Oclocknee, Tom found some photogenic squirrels - one of which was all white with a black stripe down its back.
The weather turned nasty at Ho-Hum campground on Friday morning (Mar. 7). Intense thunderstorms whipped through the oceanside sites. The cover on our bathroom fan blew off and Tom got soaked affixing it back so the rain would not fill the bathroom! We hope to get a replacement at Panama City later next week. The pictures from the storm are in black & white reflecting the mood.