Saturday, November 09, 2013

Jacksonville Florida, Days 1 and 2

We're living it up and spending Veteran's Day Weekend in Jacksonville, Florida. Not only is the weather about 20 degrees warmer than back home, but we're able to visit our good friend and her 4 year old (of backpacking fame).

We arrived yesterday, got oriented, and saw our friend in the afternoon. We busted the little one out of school a little early and officially kicked off our vacation.

We're staying down by the riverfront, and have an amazing view from our hotel window. It's the kind of scenery that causes me to just keep snapping photos. Call me an 8 year old boy, but I'm absolutely fascinated by the variety of bridges that span the river. A few of them appear to be drawbridges of sorts, and others look quite modern. It's so cool.

Today, after a wonderful breakfast at Metro Diner (I can heartily recommend the Breakfast Pie. Yum!), we took the little one for a bit of outdoor adventuring.

He hadn't napped yet, so we figured we'd head out of town and he'd sleep in the car. By the time we'd arrive at Camp Milton for some hiking, he'd be well rested. Of course, that's not how it played out. The boy stayed wide awake the whole trip (which was relatively short, 25 minutes maybe?). Convinced that a nap was critical, we decided we'd actually just keep driving hoping that eventually sleep would overtake him. Unfortunately, my curiosity beat out his urge to sleep. After randomly driving on, we managed to find Pope Duval Park.

While driving in the park, we noticed a boardwalk trail and the idea of a nap went out the window. The trail turned out to be a wonderful one. It wound through a pine forest and gave us some views of a nearby lake. The only wildlife we saw were a few spiders, but the little guy loved it all.

After the Pope Duval Park, we made our way to Camp Milton. This turned out to be a slight bust. They have a boardwalk trail, but it's really no different than the one we had just been on. From what I've ready, they occasionally have players dressed up in Civl-War era costumes, and a visitor center open to explore, but we managed to come on a day when everything was shuttered. Still, to be out in the woods in shorts and short-sleeves, enjoying a perfectly sun shiny day, it's hard to complain. So I won't.

One neat feature of Camp Milton is that they have quite a number of trees grown from either seeds or acorns originally collected from witness trees relating to the Civil War. In other words, you can look at a Magnolia tree that was grown from a hand collected seed at the site of Andersonville Prison Camp. It's a really clever way to keep history literally alive and connected to its roots.

One thing I've been reminded of this trip: never underestimate the ability for a 4 year old to remember things. Within 15 minutes of picking up our friend's little one at school he asked if he could help setup the tent to sleep in it, and whether we'd have time to play with his boat. Both of these activities come right from our overnight backpacking trip 4 months ago. Amazing.

Here's a handful of photos to get a the gist of the trip.

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