Gulliver's Western Travels Spring 2012 travel blog

Geocaching on the Bridge

Sinkhole

Tommy is all set for hiking.

Falling Waters


Today we decided to hike to Florida's highest waterfall. We are also camped on one of the highest hills in Florida. We are situated in a pine forest 324 feet above sea level!!!!

The hike is considered pretty easy despite the altitude. Just in case, we kitted ourselves up with cameras, backpacks, GPS and plenty water. Tommy has his own backpack now and he can carry the water and dog cookies.

It was a pretty hike. "At Falling Waters State Park visitors will find one of the most significant geological features in Florida. Climb down the wooden stairway into the mouth of the 100- foot deep, 20-foot wide cylindrical hole and gaze up to see a waterfall cascade 73 feet, then disappear into a cave at the bottom of the sinkhole." Hum...It has been pretty dry around here. Alas, the water was not falling.

The trail took us on a boardwalk through a area potted (pitted?) with multiple sinkholes. It was pretty cool to see these huge magnolias growing up the side of the holes. The trail also took us to the site of one of the first oil wells in Florida (1919.) Who would have thought they drilled in Florida. Because of all the limestone and sinkholes a wildcat stock promoter convinced some investors to set up a wooden derrick and drill. At a depth of 3,900 feet, there was a blow of gas released. All the locals got excited and thought they had a gusher. Promoters continued down to 4912 feet and found no oil of commercial quantity. It was capped in 1921.

We also used the time to look for geocaches and complete an EarthCache challenge. An earthcache is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature of our Earth. The "Falling Waters" EarthCache required us to hike to a specific spot, take a picture, and then answer questions about the geology and history of the region. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. We spent at least 40 minutes looking around a bridge for the DARC-Geotrail cache called "Firewater and Black Gold." We even tried to enlist the help of the park hosts who were cleaning the nearby bathrooms. They knew that the park had 3 geocaches, but they were unable to help us. The husband went over the bridge with me and my GPS. We finally gave up and came home for lunch. After a nap and reading the logs of other cache finders, Tommy and I decided to try once more. BINGO! We went right to it. I picked up a "Travel Bug" that will be placed in another cache out west. This particular bug has traveled from Washington State to Mexico throughout the Midwest and now I have it. It started its travels in 2007. On the way back to the campsite, Tommy and I found a micro-cache. It was a small film canister with camo duct tape on it. There was only enough room for a rolled up log. Alas...I had no pencil. I took Tommy home and grabbed a pen to log my name in. Lots of fun!

Tomorrow we head to Louisiana.



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