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Explore the "Real" Florida

Summer is here!  I've been enjoying a little bit o' relaxing since classes let out.  Which mostly entails reading.  And playing here and there with the husband and bears. 

We drove to Maine to see my family just over a week ago. While we were there, we visited just about every state park in the area.  In doing this, we found that Maine has this "passport" deal, where you can collect a stamp for each location you go to.  They are in lock boxes outside, the combination is in the passport book, and you can stamp as you visit.  It also includes some geocaches at certain locations.

We enjoyed collecting the stamps in the region.  It made it so we could look at the map at the beginning of each section/area, and say "okay, we want to check out this one, and these are on the way."  For two people that are very indecisive, it gave us a plan of attack.

Hunter & Rylee on top a Cobscook Bay Overlook.

This prompted us to see if the state that we actually live in, has something similar!  It turns out that Florida does.  However, you have to pay for the passport book ($10 and change) I'm guessing, mainly due to the size of having to print up a book for 160+ state parks, and then the "extra" info.

We also found that in order to get this stamped, we have to actually visit the ranger station.  The book does a fairly good job of pointing out which spots have a ranger station, where you get the stamp, and which spots have the stamps for other spots.  It can get rather confusing.  Also, there's no real way to update this if the state decides to cut rangers' time (a website to update for this would be handy).  We found that we had to actually search for a ranger at the Suwanee River, after having no luck at Lafayette Springs State Park, which was also supposed to have someone on duty.  Lesson learned.  There's a phone number for each park listed.  Which  means I have no problem calling and harassing for stamps!

We visited 4 state parks today, and I got a few good pictures with my iPhone.  A camera upgrade is in the very near future!  Personally, I am biased to Maine State parks.  A) Far less spiders  B)  non-poisonous snakes.  C) I'm not sure if it was due to the weather we were having while there, but I feel like all of the pictures I took were quite purdy.  Today, it was overcast at first, so it was hit or miss.  D) The temperature in Maine this time of year is much more conducive to hiking.  We're thinking we're going to try to focus more on State Park Beaches this time of year, and then interior parks during the Fall/ Winter.

You can check out the bears' page for an entire repertoire of pictures (eventually-  I have to upload 10 at a time, and our internet is very slow)!
Lafayette Springs State Park.  Up to 126 million gallons fill the spring every day

Madison Blue Spring was full of people!  The park ranger said that Friday,
they had to close the gates due to no parking!  We need to go back
when there aren't people present.

Orange Grove at Peacock Springs.  There is diving allowed here-
 a whole cavern system runs under the park!

Suwannee River State Park has many hiking trails to explore.
 This is also where Scott goes kayaking.

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