The morning of October 16th year of 2015 started somewhat sour, I awoke with a newborn child crying and an agitated wife. The plan was to venture into the woods with my oldest child and show her the life I LOVE. There are things in this world that I choose to hold onto and things that I travel past like road-kill on an empty freeway. The Temperatures were to hold around high 70 degrees during the day and fall into the low 60’s at night and I knew this would make for a wonderful evening in the forest.
Nathan and myself had planned on taking our oldest children out in the rig’s. The air was cool and dry, We had a later start than our imagination had envisioned. When we hit the dirt at “Big Scrub” one of the main entrances off state road 40 into Ocala National Forest the dust made its appearance to our day, Thick and relentless we pushed on into the road. Trying a new two way application on our phones, we were quite pleased with the advantages of being able to chat truck to truck without stopping and exiting the vehicles to ask what trail we wanted next.
Several miles later we stopped at the county’s dirt query looking to immerse the kids in exploration. This place looks like its something from the surface of mars, Dried clay sends to reach towards the sky and the wet stuff lies in the lower caverns that are dug from this place. Once we were on foot walking the place we quickly found that we got more than we bargained for.Tanner decided to make an all out assault on a clay bed that had begun to dry up, not near solid enough to walk along, He sunk up to his knees and asked where his legs went struggling to understand the situation he cried out for help. Nathan jumped to action, from the top of a loose mountain of clay he leaped about twenty feed into the soft bottom. Sprinting into the muck and slime to rescue his son. The others waited and watched as they had all witnessed their first real brush with adventure.
Moments later the extraction ensued, a camera fell victim to the mess this place is relied upon to build make shift roads that washout after many months of storms and wind swept scenery. After about a gallon and a half of water and rinsing we were on our way to our camp location. With muddy shoes in the garbage bags we allocated for trash along the way, we planed to fully clean up and reestablish our water supply once we made camp.
With my daughter in my lap we were “tearing” up the trails. I’m now somewhat concerned for the day she begins to drive after this session. Her passion for following the known double track (trail) has something to be desired. Several wet tracks later and a questionable water crossing and we were at camp.
I’ve had a lot of time with my daughter but this day was different, I think we had more questions and laughs than I can ever remember. By the time she asked to hold my hand while passing the spring fed lakes and shrubs that make this place a euphoria of it’s own I was already in heaven. The cook set was the first out and setup on the fold out table I had brought on this trip, with the tents following a close second we had begun to make a setting most comfortable for the kids. I gathered some wood for the fire and my companion had started dinner; Hot dogs and smore’s. And yes it was delicious.
the kids danced in the dark with headlamps on their heads in the night (we used headlamps as to increase their visibility and our perception of where they were roaming in the camp), I’m sure our camp site was something to behold. with three toddlers running around dancing and laughing it seemed more like a toddler party than a campsite. With the knowledge of our camp conditions in the past we looked forward to their retire after dinner. As me and Nathan sat back and thought about the day in its entirety we completely forgot all of the things that we so fret day to day.
I grabbed the camera and captured some images of camp and the stars that hung overhead. Unfortunately it was somewhat cloudy this night and the brightness of the moon was much to great to get any really good shots of the Milky-Way and stars, but thats life. I am just glad to be out here at the time with my daughter and a friend that couldn’t be any closer to me than a brother of my own blood. With the temperatures closing in on 60 degrees and night growing late I laid down next to my daughter and listened to her snore. I wonder what the memory might be like later in her life, would she even remember? and would it make an impact among the day to day thought’s that might plague her as a teenager and push her to the lifestyle that I find relaxing and enjoyable, only time will tell.
The morning was a slow start around 7:30am with the children wanting to play by the lake, We set out to break camp after breakfast. And soon we were on the trails again looking to take the long way back to civilization. About 45 miles later and we were on asphalt and in route home. In closing as I sit here and write this confession of pleasure, I find that I can never be too grateful of the place that I live in and the things that I do to get me here. If there is one thing I have learned is that you need to live outside your comfort zones as much as possible so when you are at home in the normal your soul is at peace but ever wanting more.