The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Pine Log Florida State Forest

 Today we were off to Pine Log State Forest.  There are over 1 million acres in 30 state forest land in Florida which is available for public use.  They range from full facility camping along black water streams to hiking meandering trails through the wilderness--something for everyone.

The first time I came to Florida, I was surprised at all the pine forests in the panhandle.  Looks just like Michigan or Minnesota doesn't it?  Of course, it is much warmer and you are liable to see a magnolia tree along the side of the road mixed in with the pines.  This area of Florida has a lot of pine forests that are grown by the paper mills so you see evenly spaced trees in rows.

This is the unmanned self check-in area.  The cost is $2 per person or you can get a pass.  Steve has stopped at the nearby office numerous times but never manages to catch someone so he can get a pass.  He likes to come out here and ride his mountain bike or his unicycle on the paths through the trees.


Apparently this is the official greeter and guide for Pine Log.  She lives nearby and comes to greet everyone as they enter the park.

We were all prepared for a scientific expedition.  Cameron and Morgan each have a small net and a bug collection box and are ready to hit the trail.  Helen was also with us but she needed to get in a run today so she set off on the longer trail so that she could meet up with us later.  In the background, you can see a really nice pavilion that has overhead fans, lights, and a huge fireplace surrounded by picnic tables.  It is a great place to have a get-together.

Cameron, Morgan, and Steve are checking out the trail head map so they can see which trail to take and where it will come out.

Partway around the trail, we came to a tenting area which included some covered picnic tables in a nice clearing.

We stopped to take a break on a bench along the trail.  The kids were also supposed to be "bug hunting" but they seemed to be more interested in making sure their "guide dog" stuck with them on the trail.

About half way round, we ran into this unique, energetic, pink-breasted creature that ambushed the intrepid hunters from behind a bush.  The photo was taken after everyone landed back on the ground.

Now that we had an official scientist traveling with us, the hunting got a little more earnest.  Helen showed the kids how to look under leaves and twigs.  Morgan was most "into" this part of the research.


Cameron has his collection box open while Helen uses his bug tweezers to make the transfer of the caterpillar.

The bug collection box has a built in magnification window which Morgan is using to check out her bugs.

Helen has everyone involved in the hunt as we get further down the trail.  I think I should have gotten a bug collection kit for her too as she was having as much fun as the kids.  Think "dollar store" if you want to get one of the cute kits for your kids or grandkids.

Cameron was more into the whole adventure by now and was busy showing his Dad what he had found.  In the background, you can see one of the camper's vehicles.

Pine Log has a nice camping area which is very well shaded but open enough that any breeze can come through.  Each site has water and 30 AMP electric.

Most of the sites seemed pretty level and we even found a pull-through or two.  You can see a group of campers in a tent in the background.

Here are a couple of motorhomes and trailers.  The sites are nicely spaced out so that you aren't too close to everyone else.


This was a really nice big site with two tables.

The campground prices have recently gone up to $20 per night.  If you are camping, you don't have to pay the $2 entrance fee so that helps.  I should also mention that they have a bathroom facility with a couple showers and toilets each for men and women.  

There is also a pond where you can fish.  It has a long dock that goes out to the middle and has a cover at the end.

 Naturally, the kids were ready for a drink and snacks before we left.  We were joined by a very interested squirrel who kept an eye on us.  All of a sudden, the rain came pelting down.  Steve got his motorcycle and pushed it over under the pavilion.  We quickly picked up the snacks and jumped into the car.  When it slowed down a little, we jumped out and ran over to the pavilion too.  A few minutes later, a ranger or state forest worker came through the area checking things out.  He got out of his truck and walked over to the pavilion.  I think he was eyeing the motorcycle under the pavilion since riding ATVs is prohibited and I think he thought that it was an off road bike.  We quickly explained that the bike was off the road and under the pavilion only because of the rain and was not being ridden on the trails.  After I told him what a great park it was, he seemed okay with our explanation and went back to his truck.  It had stopped raining by then so Steve pushed the bike back up to the road and we got into the car and headed out.

All in all, Pine Log is a really nice park well worth a visit.  It is beautiful, quiet, and well maintained.  There are nature trails for hiking or bicycling.  The campground has 20 sites with water and electric and there is a dump station.  There are also flush toilets and showers available.  Although the "traveling longdogs" were back at Steve's taking a nap, dogs on leashes that are picked up after are welcome in the park.

2 comments:

  1. Good post I loved the park greeter and pink-breasted creature. They both looked like assets. I will be there, soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I need a Harley, Willy and Gretchen fix!! Please!

    ReplyDelete

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