Page Under Construction
It's me again, with another adventure to tell you about. This
time we headed out for a little hiking. We drove over to Torreya
State Park toward the panhandle of Florida. We had been told that
all the campsites were reserved, but there could possibly be a
cancellation, so we headed over there anyway.
I had been told that the weather would be in the 30's overnight and we
would be sleeping in the bed of the pickup truck. That worried
me. It turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise.
When we got to the park, we learned why all the campsites were
reserved, there was a festival going on called "Cannonballs, Cornbread,
and Candlelight". It was a very small festival, but very
interesting. There were people in Civil War period costumes, and
various pioneer skills demonstrations, including cooking cornbread and
cracklin's over open fires. There were candle makers, a
turpentine display, and a wood craft display by the Civilian
Conservation Corp, which built the park back in the 1930's.
The park sits on a bluff overlooking the Apalachacola River. It's
centerpiece is a plantation home, known as the Gregory House, from the
Civil War era, which had been abandoned across the river. When
the CCC built the park, they disassembled the house, ferried it across
the river on homemade barges, and reassembled it on the bluff
overlooking the river, where it stands now.
The "Cannons" part came when a group of Civil War reenactors
representing a Confederate Artillery Battery, fired their cannon over
the river. Of course they didn't use a real cannonball, but it
was very impressive anyway.
During the Civil War the Confederates had six artillery batteries here
to prevent Union boats from traveling up the river. This cannon
firing is a tribute to the soldiers who had defended the river so long
The Civil War, or "War Between The States" as it is frequently called
down here, or even the "War of Northern Aggression" by some diehards,
is a very important part of the history, culture, and traditions of the
South. Confederate flags are seen frequently and are even
incorporated into the state flags of several of the former Confederate
We were informed that indeed someone had not shown up for their
reserved campsite, so we were permitted to set up in the campground.
Right across from our campsite was an interesting structure called a
Yurt. The park refers to it as a "Yearround Universal Recreation
Tent". However I understand it has a much more interesting origin
Just after sunset, the Gregory House was opened for a tour by
candlelight. With the exception of some modern safety features
added recently, the home is exactly as the Gregory family had lived in
it over 150 year ago. While there were a few artifacts which had
belonged to the Gregory family, everything in the house was authentic
for that period. We could not touch anything but is was
fascinating to see.
After the tour we trekked back to the campground for hot cocoa and a snug night's sleep.
Since we had come here to hike the trails, Sunday was the day. We
got our trail map, loaded backpacks with food and water, and headed
out. While the temperature barely made 60 degrees, the effort of
hiking up and down ridges and ravines soon had us down to our tee
shirts. Rather that a big lunch, we took frequent breaks for
rest, water, and snacks. One snack I really liked was called flat
steaks. It turned out to be a joke on me, it is really called
I helped out with the navigation. Now I have to look at a map and see if I can find these coordinates.
Finally, after eight hours of hiking, we staggered back to camp with
barely enough energy left for showers and dinner. I wasn't
allowed to eat too much chili since I am prone to flatulence.