We decided to go on an adventure to Torreya State Park just to check it out. It's about an hour northeast of Panama City. The roads weren't busy and it always amazes me how this part of Florida could be Michigan or Minnesota with all the pine trees. Of course, the occasional magnolia tree or palm tree gives it away.
The day use fee was $3.00 on the honor system as you go into the park. You put the money into an envelope and tear off a paper hanger for your mirror to show you paid.
The first area we checked out was the Weeping Ridge Campground. It was a nice quiet place with some open and some shaded sites. It was still morning and there was a slight breeze so it was comfortable here in the camping area. It was only about 1/3 full. I think it would be a great place when it is a little cooler since there is no swimming area. Campsites are $16/day plus tax and include water and electric. There is a dump station available.
This great patio overlook was located in the campground. This park is hilly and the views were fantastic.
We met this beautiful little miss camping close to the scenic view patio. She was quite friendly and more than willing to roll over for a tummy rub. Dachshunds love tummy rubs.
This hiking trail starts in the camping area. Sounds very interesting but we were checking out another area.
If you would like to stay at the park but don't have an RV or a tent, consider renting the Yurt. It has a queen size bed plus bunk beds and has air conditioning for $40/night. You would have to bring your own bed linens and cooking items but it was right there in the campground.
This was the only wildlife we saw during the day. The tortoise was on the roadway and he scrambled to the side and off into the grass really quickly. I didn't know they could move that fast. It could just see his burrow before he disappeared into it.
Our next stop was the day use area. They had about 6 large pavilions in a beautiful park area. Each pavilion had a water pump and electric lighting. You can rent one for $40/day but we had the whole area to ourselves. They also had beautiful spotless restrooms.
There was a great playground for the kids.
We had our picnic lunch here and the kids played. Steve stretched out for a few minutes while I walked around.
Our next stop was actually the end of the road at The Gregory House. We had already decided that we would probably not do the tour as 6 and 8 year olds aren't really into looking at old houses.
The decision was taken out of our hands anyway as the tours were only open on the weekends. However, we were still able to see the whole area around the house. Isn't it beautiful?
As we walked up the path to the house, we learned about the Torreya trees that gave the park its name.
This is the view looking through the portico on the side of the house. I missed getting a picture from the benches looking down over the Apalachicola River down below. It was beautiful.
This park is known for its hiking trails. There are miles of them. Knowing that the kids (and Grandma, let's be honest) weren't up to any really long hikes, I picked out an area where two trails connected and gave us a little over a mile of hiking. Steve and the kids were checking out the signs.
Okay, I should have clued in on the "steep" trail comment here.
And paid close attention to the immediate hill we started down. Steve picked up a walking stick and told the kids to stay behind him. He had read on the sign that there could be copperheads and you should make sure they knew you were coming so they would move off the trail out of your way. Just to let you know upfront, we never saw a single snake but Steve stayed very alert just to make sure.
This is one of the confederate cannon emplacements. I'm sure the hillside must have been a lot less treed back then.
This is the view down the hill to the Apalachicola River. We started out way up above it.
As we merged onto the other trail, we were closer down to the river. We didn't see any alligators sunning along the banks and it sure looked like it would have been fun to drift down the river on a boat.
If you look way up at the top center of this photo, you can see the house where we started on the trail so we were about half way around here. I use the term "trail" very loosely here. It definitely wasn't a path. We started on a trail with occasional "blue" markers, cut back along the river on the main "orange" trail, and then connected again with the "blue trail". It was a good thing that I had the map of the trails or we would never have found the connecting areas. I think they may have been made following a deer around.
We took a little break along the river here. A bench would have been really nice as this was quite a hike. (Okay, Diana, if you are reading this, you would have loved it.) The kids were letting us know they were feeling a little worn out from here on back.
They were actively griping from this point on. I have to say that I did much better. At least I didn't gripe. I didn't have enough energy left over to complain. I was too busy using my "walking stick" to take the next step up or grabbing a nearby tree for leverage. At least I didn't have any trouble breathing. I did pull a muscle in my shoulder though. The first branch I found for a walking stick was way too heavy but I found a better one later on. Definitely needed one. Steve, of course, barely broke a sweat. And I think he went on a 35 mile bike ride before we headed out to the park. I have athletic kids--they didn't get it from me.
All in all, it was a great day. The kids slept all the way home. And the Traveling Longdogs were glad they stayed home when they heard about the hike.