Thursday, March 2, 2017

Juniper Springs - 03/02/17 - Silver Spring, FL

March 2, 2017 through March 9, 2017
Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Ocala National Forest
Silver Spring, Florida

On our previous visits to campgrounds within the Ocala National Forest, located east of Ocala, Florida, we camped at Alexander Springs, Clearwater Lake and Salt Springs. On this visit to Florida we camp at Juniper Springs.

This landmark natural spring features a swimming hole, campground, picnic facilities and a mill house. It was opened to the public in 1936. We will spend eight days exploring this beautiful, subtropical area.

Florida has more natural springs than any other region in the world. There are over 600 springs in the state – some merely a trickle and others among the largest in the world. The springs maintain a constant year-round temperature of 72 degrees F.

Juniper and Fern Hammock Springs reside within the Juniper Springs Recreation Area and flow into Juniper Creek. Combined daily water flow from these two springs is about 13 million gallons. That’s enough water to fill 750 swimming pools every day!

Canoeing and kayaking a seven-mile run down the Juniper Creek is very popular year-round. Juniper Springs offers canoe and kayak rentals with pull-out service. Pull-out service is also available for visitors who bring their own canoes and kayaks. The water from the springs forms the Juniper Springs Run, one of the top 25-canoe runs in America.

Just 37 days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration, the first recruits joined the Civilian Conversation Corps (CCC). Between 1935 and 1936, CCC engineers designed and built the most interesting feature of Juniper Springs Recreation Area: the Juniper Millhouse. This structure was built at the foot of the main pool of Juniper Springs. Water flowing from the springs was channeled into a narrow sluice and then allowed to pour back out to its natural configuration. The rushing water that poured through the sluice turned an undershot waterwheel (so named because the water ran under instead of over the wheel). That wheel, in turn powered a generator in the millhouse that produced more than enough electricity to meet the needs of the recreation area during the early part of the 20th Century.

The Juniper Springs Millhouse no longer generates electricity, but the structure has been beautifully preserved. The stone wall at the waterwheel end is a beautiful piece of CCC masonry work.

During our eight-day stay at Juniper Springs Recreation Area, we were amazed and delighted there were no pesky mosquitoes present, day or night. What a relief, the mosquitoes in southern Florida were horrible!

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Wauchala, Florida
Departure Time: 9:30 A.M.
Arrived: Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Arrival Time: 1:30 P.M.

Campground: Juniper Springs
Type: National Park
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 29.17974
Longitude: W 81.71287
Camping Fee: $23.10 (50% discount with Senior Pass)
Campsite: 34 (March 2 through 4 – First Come, First Serve Campsite)
Campsite: 41 (March 5 through 9 – Reserve Campsite)
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Free Hot Showers, Water Spigots, Trash Dumpsters, Sewer Dump
Total Campsites: 79

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-2 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 4G-3 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent service only in campsite 41. All other campsites have obstructed view of southern sky.

Total miles traveled today: 164
Route Traveled:
North on US-17
East on I-4
North on US-27
North on FL-19
West on FL-40 to Juniper Springs Recreation Area

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pioneer Park - 01/03/17 - Zolfo Springs, FL

Tuesday – January 3, 2017
Pioneer Park
Zolfo Springs, Florida

We spent Christmas through the New Year at the Ocean Pond Campground in the Osceola National Forest in northern Florida. Cooler weather is forecast for this section of Florida so we decided to move south to central Florida where warmer weather will prevail. We will spend two weeks at Pioneer Park in Zolfo Springs, Florida. This is a county park located 73 miles southwest of Tampa. Our last visit to Pioneer Park was in January 2014.

Pioneer Park is a 115-acre county owned park that offers 65 grassy campsites with electric and water hookups and 25 campsites without electric and water hookups. There are three restroom facilities with flush toilets and hot water showers. There is a museum, wildlife refuge, hiking trails, a boat ramp to the Peace River, and fishing.

Every year, during the last week in February, The Annual Pioneer Park Days takes place. Pioneer Park Days is one of the largest, and is the oldest antique tractor, steam engine and farm equipment shows in the southeast. Some of the highlights include over 400 exhibits of tractors, steam engines and farm equipment.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Campground: Pioneer Park
Type: County
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 27.49091
Longitude: W 081.79493
Camping Fee: See Camping Rates
Campsite: A49
Campsite Hookups: Electric and Water
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Hot Showers, Trash Dumpsters, Dump Station
Total Campsites: 90 (65 with Hookups, 25 without Hookups)

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 227
Route Traveled:
West on US-90
South on I-75 to Exit 289
South on US-27
South on FL-33
West on FL-570
East on FL-540
South on US-17 to FL-64
One entrance on US-17, north of FL-64
One entrance on FL-64, west of US-17

Camping Rates:

Per Night
$20.00 + tax ($21.40) w/electric ($3.00 + Tax for 50 amp Service)
$15.00 + tax ($16.05) w/o electric

Per Week
$100.00 + tax ($107.00) w/electric ($15.00 + Tax for 50 amp Service)
$69.00 + tax ($73.83) w/o electric

Per Month
$300.00 + tax ($321.00) per month w/electric ($45.00 + Tax for 50 amp Service)
$250.00 + tax ($267.50) per month w/o electric

(Above rates are based on one (1) or two (2) persons per campsite.)

Additional Guests
$2.00 + tax ($2.14) additional guest-per night, per person (ages 10 & up)
$10.00 + tax (10.70) additional guests per week, per person (ages 10 & up)
$25.00 + tax (26.75) additional guests per month, per person (ages 10 & up)
$1.00 per person, per night, Boy Scout Groups.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hoh Rain Forest (Olympic NP) - 08/08/16 - Forks, WA

Monday – August 8, 2016
Olympic National Park
Hoh Rain Forest
Forks, Washington

Pictures To Be Added Soon

Temperate rain forests grow along the coast and in ocean-facing valleys. Drenched in over 12 feet of rain a year, west-side valleys nurture giant western hemlock, Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce trees. Moss-draped big-leaf maples create a magical scene that obliterates all sense of time. Roosevelt elk often visit the riverbanks at dawn and dusk.

This was our introduction to the Hoh Rainforest, located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the United States. Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation. This includes 24 miles of low elevation forest 394 to 2,493 feet along the Hoh River. The Hoh River valley was formed thousands of years ago by glaciers.

The dominant species in the rainforest are Sitka spruce and western hemlock; some grow to tremendous size, reaching 312 feet in height and 23 feet in diameter. Coast Douglas-fir, western red cedar, big leaf maple, red alder, vine maple, and black cottonwood are also found throughout this magnificent forest.

Many unique mosses and lichens are also present in the rainforest, such as lettuce lichen, which requires the cool, moist conditions found under the canopy of old-growth forests and is consumed by deer, elk, and other animals.

Many native fauna also make the Hoh Rainforest their home, including the Pacific tree frog, northern spotted owl, bobcat, cougar, raccoon, Olympic black bear, Roosevelt elk, and black-tailed deer.

Near the visitor center is the Hall of Mosses Trail, a short trail, 0.8 miles, which gives visitors a feel for the local ecosystem and views of maples draped with large growths of spikemoss. There is also the Spruce Nature Trail, 1.2 miles, which includes signs that identify various trailside trees and plants.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: South Beach Campground
Departure Time: 10:00 A.M.
Arrived: Hoh Rain Forest Campground
Arrival Time: 12:30 P.M.

Campground: Hoh Rain Forest
Type: National Park
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 47.85944
Longitude: W 123.93611
Elevation: Feet
Camping Fee: 20.00 (50% discount with Senior Pass)
Campsite: 35
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Water Spigots, Trash Dumpster
Dump Station: Yes - $10.00 fee (50% discount with Senior Pass)
Total Campsites: 81

Cellular Service: Verizon – 3G-2 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – No Service
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 43
Route Traveled:
North on US-101
East on Upper Hoh Road to Campground

Sunday, August 7, 2016

South Beach CG (Olympic NP) - 08/07/16 - Kalaloch, WA

Sunday – August 7, 2016
Olympic National Park
South Beach Campground
Kalaloch, Washington

Pictures To Be Added Soon

Waves boom along wilderness beaches and mix with snow-fed rivers. Ancient trees shelter wildlife. Rugged peaks embrace glaciers and sub-alpine meadows. Coast, forest, and mountain ecosystems combine to create this spectacular wilderness park: Olympic National Park.

The Olympic Peninsula is home to eight American Indian tribes that developed complex hunter-gatherer societies and to continue to keep their traditions alive. European explorers who ventured here in the late 1700’s heralded the way for homesteaders.

The Olympics were set aside as a national monument in 1909 and further protected as Olympic National Park in 1938. Today, the park is internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.

Olympic National Park protects the largest old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest. Its unique character begins with ancient trees that took root 200 to 1,000 years ago. In these forests multi-layered canopies, standing snags, and fallen tree trunks provide habitat for myriad animals.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Bend, Oregon
Departure Time: 10:35 A.M.
Arrived: Troutdale, Oregon
Arrival Time: 3:35 P.M.

Campground: South Beach
Type: National Park
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 47.56863
Longitude: W 124.36150
Elevation: 24 Feet
Camping Fee: 15.00 (50% discount with Senior Pass)
Campsite: 26
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Trash Dumpster
Water Available: No
Dump Station: No
Total Campsites: 55

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 160
Route Traveled:
North on I-5
West on US-12
North on US-101 to Campground

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mount St. Helens - 08/06/16 - Castle Rock, WA

Saturday – August 6, 2016
Mount St. Helens National Monument
Castle Rock,Washington

Pictures To Be Added Soon

A visit to Mount St. Helens is awe-inspiring. One cannot appreciate the destructive force of a volcanic eruption until the devastation to the surrounding landscape, that exists to this day, is seen first-hand.

Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 96 miles south of Seattle, Washington, and 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon. The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes. This volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.

Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its eruption on May 18, 1980, at 8:32 a.m. PDT, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale caused an eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 feet to 8,363 feet, replacing it with a one mile wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for its aftermath to be scientifically


On March 20, 1980, Mount St. Helens experienced a magnitude 4.2 earthquake; and, on March 27, steam venting started. By the end of April, the north side of the mountain had started to bulge. On May 18, a second earthquake, of magnitude 5.1, triggered a massive collapse of the north face of the mountain. It was the largest known debris avalanche in recorded history. The magma in St. Helens burst forth into a large-scale pyroclastic flow that flattened vegetation and buildings over 230 square miles. More than 1.5 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide were released into the atmosphere. On the Volcanic Explosivity Index scale, the eruption was rated a five (a Plinian eruption).

When Mount St. Helens erupted, the collapse of the northern flank of St. Helens mixed with ice, snow, and water to create lahars (volcanic mudflows). The lahars flowed many miles down the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers, destroying bridges and lumber camps. A total of 3,900,000 cubic yards of material was transported 17 miles south into the Columbia River by the mudflows.

For more than nine hours, a vigorous plume of ash erupted, eventually reaching 12 to 16 miles above sea level. The plume moved eastward at an average speed of 60 miles per hour with ash reaching Idaho by noon. Ashes from the eruption were found collecting on top of cars and roofs next morning, as far as the city of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

Mount St. Helens is geologically young compared with the other major Cascade volcanoes. It formed only within the past 40,000 years, and the pre-1980 summit cone began rising about 2,200 years ago. The volcano is considered the most active in the Cascades within the last 10,000 or so years.

Prior to the 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens was the fifth-highest peak in Washington. It stood out prominently from surrounding hills because of the symmetry and extensive snow and ice cover of the pre-1980 summit cone. The peak rose more than 5,000 feet above its base, where the lower flanks merge with adjacent ridges. The mountain is 6 miles across at its base, which is at an elevation of 4,400 feet on the northeastern side and 4,000 feet elsewhere. At the pre-eruption tree line, the width of the cone was 4 miles.

Streams that originate on the volcano enter three main river systems: the Toutle River on the north and northwest, the Kalama River on the west, and the Lewis River on the south and east. The streams are fed by abundant rain and snow. The average annual rainfall is 140 inches, and the snow pack on the mountain's upper slopes can reach 16 feet. The Lewis River is impounded by three dams for hydroelectric power generation. The southern and eastern sides of the volcano drain into an upstream impoundment, the Swift Reservoir, which is directly south of the volcano's peak.

Between 1980 and 1986, activity continued at Mount St. Helens, with a new lava dome forming in the crater. Numerous small explosions and dome-building eruptions occurred. From December 7, 1989, to January 6, 1990, and from November 5, 1990, to February 14, 1991, the mountain erupted with sometimes huge clouds of ash.

Magma reached the surface of the volcano about October 11, 2004, resulting in the building of a new lava dome on the existing dome's south side. This new dome continued to grow throughout 2005 and into 2006. On January 16, 2008, steam began seeping from a fracture on top of the lava dome. Associated seismic activity was the most noteworthy since 2004. Scientists suspended activities in the crater and the mountain flanks, but the risk of a major eruption was deemed low. By the end of January, the eruption paused; no more lava was being extruded from the lava dome. On July 10, 2008, it was determined that the eruption had ended, after more than six months of no volcanic activity.

State Route 504, locally known as the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, connects with Interstate 5 at Exit 49, 34 miles to the west of the mountain. The community nearest the volcano is Cougar, Washington, in the Lewis River valley 11 miles south-southwest of the peak. Gifford Pinchot National Forest surrounds Mount St. Helens.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Castle Rock, WA
Departure Time: 10:15 A.M.
Arrived: Kalaloch, WA
Arrival Time: 2:50 P.M.

Campground: Empty Commercial Lot for Sale
Type: Private
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 46.28775
Longitude: W 122.79781
Elevation: 133 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: Parking Lot
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: None
Total Campsites: Several

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 137
Route Traveled:
South on OR-35
West on WA-14
North on I-205
North on I-5 to Exit 49

Friday, August 5, 2016

Stonehenge - 08/05/16 - Maryhill, WA

Friday – August 5, 2016
Maryhill, Washington

Pictures To Be Added Soon

We completed a wonderful visit today to the American version of Stonehenge.

The Maryhill, Washington Stonehenge is a replica of Stonehenge in England. It was commissioned in the early twentieth century by businessman Samuel Hill and dedicated on July 4, 1918 as a memorial to those who had died in World War I. The memorial was completed in 1929. It is constructed of concrete.

The Maryhill Stonehenge was the first monument in the United States to honor the dead of World War I (specifically, soldiers from Klickitat County, Washington who had died in the then still on-going war). The altar stone is placed to be aligned with sunrise on the Summer Solstice. Hill, a Quaker, informed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site, therefore constructed the replica as a reminder that humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war. The monument was originally located in the center of Maryhill, which later burned down leaving only the Stonehenge replica. A second formal dedication of the monument took place upon its completion on May 30, 1929. Sam Hill, who died in 1931, lived long enough to see his Stonehenge completed.

The dedication plaque on this Washington Stonehenge is inscribed:

"In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench."

The Maryhill Stonehenge is located off U.S. Highway 97, about two miles from where it enters the state of Washington by crossing the Columbia River from Oregon. Admission is free to visit the memorial; but donations for its continued maintenance are appreciated.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Route 281 - 08/05/16 - Hood River, OR

Friday – August 5, 2016
Tour of Route 281
Hood River, Oregon

Pictures To Be Added Soon

The city of Hood River was established on September 30, 1858 and was incorporated in 1895.

Hood River is at the confluence of the Hood River and the Columbia River in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. The city is about 30 miles north of Mount Hood, the tallest peak in the state. It is across the Columbia River from White Salmon, Washington. South of the city is the Hood River Valley, known for its production of apples, pears, and cherries.

Located at the transition zone between wet temperate rainforest to the west, and dry shrub-steppe desert to the east, Hood River has a moderate climate with rainy winters and warm summers, although rainfall there is somewhat less than Portland and other nearby areas in the Willamette Valley. Hood River averages around 30 inches of precipitation a year, while Cascade Locks, 20 miles west, receives over 75 inches and The Dalles, 20 miles east, less than 15 inches. The area is known for its consistently high winds channeling down the Columbia River Gorge.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.