Monday, November 2, 2015

Second Annual Halloween in the Woods

It's that time of year, Halloween! Many people spend too much time/money worrying about costumes and candy, I have found it to be more fun to spend time in the woods. Last year we started something we plan to continue for a long time, a camping trip with friends. Check out last year's adventure here and here. This year we added an extra day to our camp out, we arrived on Thursday. Hubby and I have a quick set up so after we finished we helped our friends finish setting up theirs. Our friends that joined us on Thursday have a lovely kitchen tent set up that we put on our site since we would be hosting the festivities of the weekend. It was much more warm and muggy this year than last year, of course last year we froze our butts off with the unexpected temperature drop. I kept hoping that the weather would turn to the cooler, I even made sure to pack more warm clothes than last year in case.
Our loyal little tent. We splurged on some new LED C9 lights for the canopy.
I love daddy long legs
The ranger warned us that with the warm weather the copperheads were on the move  and were being spotted more than normal. I probably would have done some hiking by myself if he hadn't mentioned that. I do not like snakes and nothing fills me with more dread that the thought of being alone on a trail and possibly being bitten by a venomous snake and not being able to hike back. 
 After set-up and before dinner we all piled in a car and drove up the hill to the Gregory House, one of our friends that came early had never been to the park so we had to show him the view overlooking the river.

Just before sunset we headed back to camp and grilled hot dogs and baked beans.
 I didn't sleep well Thursday night so I got up early (since I was awake) and made pancakes and eggs for breakfast for Hubby and myself. After breakfast I took a short walk along the paved road. The walk was shorter than my normal walk but it was hilly so I felt that made up for the distance.

The morning was dewy and super muggy
Luckily the humidity dropped from 83% to 45% and the breeze picked up around noon. Since it was so lovely out we took a group hike to the stone bridge. I was excited to go since the last time we were there we hiked other trails and didn't get to see it.
The Old Stone Bridge doesn't look much when you first come upon it but once you are closer you can see the amazing time that was spent making it.
It looks like something from a fairy tale. We all climbed down the bank to walk underneath it and pretend to be trolls.
 I couldn't find much info about the bridge and I forgot to ask the ranger but I do know it was built by the CCC, most likely around the 1930s/1940s when the park was founded.
I love my X-files shirt from TeeFury
The stream that travels under the bridge was just a trickle since there hasn't been much rain lately.
We had a late lunch after hiking. Three of our friends made it out in the early afternoon and the last two made it at dusk. We had a tent putting up party for our latecomers then we all got together for a chili dinner.  After dinner we watched some cheesy movies projected on a sheet set up between the clothesline posts.

I slept soundly Friday night so I was able to get up at dawn again. Some of our friends treated us to a biscuit and sausage gravy breakfast then we sat around for a little before taking a short hike to the Weeping Ridge waterfall.
 I was surprised there was any water trickling down.
 Last time I was too scared to climb down the bank into the ravine but this time I conquered my fears to get these photos.
Florida forests don't get much color change but there were a few pretty colors here and there.

We just missed the 2:00 tour of the Gregory house since we were on the hike but we were ready at 4:00. We even had a few more friends roll into camp so they were able to join us on the tour.

Last year the ranger told us a little but not much about the haunted history of the plantation house. I will say I am very happy we took the tour on Halloween, and close to sunset at that. We had several other couples take the tour at the same time and one of them happened to be former campground hosts for the park. The lady was an avid adventurer in the paranormal and since she was a friend of the park she told her stories about experiences and photos she had taken in the house. She shed a lot more light to the haunted rumors. She said she had only had friendly encounters but she wouldn't go in one of the rooms when we came to it. I had something interesting happen to be while in the house this time and one I can't explain.
 My mother quilts so I always like to take photos of the amazing quilts in the house.
 Saturday evening we ate a lovely fresh made potato soup and watched a zombie movie. After the movie we took a break for s'mores and just as we were about to sit down for another movie it started raining. It alternated between rain and a drizzle so everyone turned in early except Hubby and myself. We sat by the fire and talked till late.
 Sunday morning the air was heavy with moisture but the rain held out till after we had a lovely bacon and egg breakfast and had packed up our gear. It started drizzling while our friends were finishing up so several of us stayed around to help them take down and load. 

Despite the rain we had a fun trip. Most of our furbabies were happy to see us when we got home, soon enough they were snuggling with us. Sunday evening I did all the laundry from the trip including our bedding and the laundry from the week of the trip I had run out of time to do. In between loads I unpacked the coolers and other food as well as any other bag or container we took with us. Hubby spread out and sprayed off the tarp, tent, and canopies and let them dry since it wasn't raining in town. It feels odd to be home again and in the comfort of a house. I love spending time in nature, it drains stress and worry from me and gives me a fresh outlook. I can't wait to get back out there again. 

Till next time,
Some Bunny Loves Ya!