Saturday, January 24, 2009

Path To Less, Update 4: Day Tripping

We decided that we would plan a pure decompression weekend this week. Make no commitments to be any place, at any time, to anyone. The only commitment was to ourselves -- that we would relax, do it simply and inexpensively, and do it together. So after a light lunch we grabbed the camera, jumped in the car, and headed south from Jacksonville on the back roads with no destination in mind. We ended up 50 miles south, at Ravine Gardens State Park (a place we had never visited before), in Palatka Florida. We were pleasantly surprised to find great walking trails, beautiful north Florida scenery, 70 degree warmth after a week of freezes, and even a few early blooming azaleas. For four bucks and two gallons of gas, we got out into nature, took photographs, got some decent exercise, and made the two suspension bridges that span the ravines over the local springs swing  back and forth...

From the park, we headed across the St. Johns river between Palatka and East Palatka, then northeast on route 207 through Hastings (the potato capital of the south). We then picked up route 13 -- the Bartram Scenic Highway -- part of the famous Bartram Trail, blazed by William Bartram in the mid-18th century. This portion of route 13 is lightly traveled 2-lane road that hugs the winding shore of the Saint Johns River -- until it bursts into four, then six lanes as it runs into suburban Jacksonville. Down here, the small fishing and farming communities have names like Bass Cove, Collee Cove, St. John, Tocoee, Picolatta and Orangedale. We pulled over at Riverdale Park in tiny Riverdale --  a favorite spot of ours for rest, reading, and sunset watching.
As usual, we had the place pretty much to ourselves -- another couple had settled into a pair of folding chairs to river-gaze, a small band of bikers blew in and blew out, a mother and her daughter stopped and chatted for a few minutes. Something about the folks who stop by Riverdale Park -- they never fail to say hello, and never fail to be interesting and friendly. So for the price of another gallon of gas, Mrs. Muse got to sit on the dock and chat with a new friend, I got to wade around in the milkweed with my camera at low tide, and we all got to enjoy the peace and beauty of some of nature's finest work...
No matter where you are, and no matter what your personal aesthetic tastes there is no doubt a similar opportunity for you to leave the rush and stress behind and for the price of the loose change under the sofa pillows spend a rewarding, relaxing, refreshing, and renewing afternoon. Simple....

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Lovely post and glorious images! Thank you. My simple for the last month? I'm sleeping in my tiny caravan in the back garden. No phone (well, the inhabitants of my house answer it!) and the stars at night, and the birds in the morning. And with all the recent heat, it's nice a cool out there.