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Welcome to my corner of North Georgia. I document my adventures and outdoor activities in hopes of inspiring others to make the most of each day. It is my goal to make hiking accessible and non-intimidating, while promoting responsible enjoyment of the environment. No trail is too short!

Fall in Florida

I never take time off from work, so this is monumental. Typically my adventures are limited to daytrips or a very brief overnight stay somewhere during a long weekend. However, my mom is staying in Georgia for the winter and we decided to take a road trip down to Florida after Thanksgiving to visit my hometown and all my other relatives. 

I grew up about an hour from Orlando near the beach (Merritt Island/Brevard County). Central FL tends to be very touristy and sadly a lot of the natural beauty has been destroyed by development. Of course there is Disney World, exceedingly large outlet malls, beach resorts, etc but that is hardly where I spent my time growing up. 

For your reference, please view the incredibly detailed map on the right, which marks all of the local breweries in the great state of Florida (don't worry about the panhandle- there aren't any there apparently). The little bump on the middle, righthand side is Brevard County.

If you know where to go, FL has amazing outdoor features. We were not been able to do as much as I would have liked because many places in FL are not dog friendly. If they were, this would be a much more interesting post about places you might like to go.

Chances are anyone reading this is either from Merritt Island and knows everything I am writing about OR will never go to Merritt Island and does not care OR may go to Merritt Island but will be doing things like visiting the Kennedy Space Center or going on a cruise. So if this all seems a little mundane and like "really she is writing about her grandma's neighborhood??", it's because it is. This may not be the Florida people imagine, but it's the Florida I grew up in.

We spent most of our time visiting with family but did go on a few excursions into the local wilds. My mom and I ventured out to the local wildlife preserve Ulumay one morning. This is located on Merritt Island near my childhood home. It may be flat, but try it on a warm humid day and see how strenuous it can be! There is an observation tower, about 11 miles total of walking trails and a "kayak trail". 
Disclosure- I hear it is a gathering places for less salacious types at night but we certainly didn't see anyone while we were there. It was very quiet and peaceful.

We also took the dogs to the beach. For the record, of all the many beaches up and down Brevard County, there is exactly ONE that allows dogs. So off to Canova Beach we went.

Apparently, there are two Canova Beach parks and the more southerly one off A1A is actually the dog beach. We ended up at the other one but it was relatively unpopulated at the time of our visit, so we stayed put. Technically, dogs are not allowed at this part of the beach.Some more on Canova Beach- no bathrooms or showers. We had quite an ordeal cleaning the dogs off before going home and there is still sand in the car.

Another word about dog beaches, dogs are supposed to stay on leashes but we let Tennille off. I mean, what is the point of bringing your dog to the beach if she can't run free? We all got lots of exercise running up and down the shore with her. Nova also had a blast and thought chasing birds was the best. 

One of the things I like best about FL is the likelihood of seeing animals. Anywhere, anytime. Let's see, we saw an alligator, a tortoise, many lizards, an owl, sea birds (not just seagulls), crabs, peacocks, various other birds, cows (lots of them) and probably more I am forgetting about (such as feral cats- lots of them at the beach). Not to mention, the neighborhood critters, such as the horses near my grandma's house. There have been horses at this pasture for as long as I can remember and going to visit them was one of my favorite things as a child. 

Speaking of horses and cows, there is somewhat of a belief that FL and it's inhabitants are somehow not southern. Sure, most people south of the panhandle don't have a southern accent, however, denim shorts, mullets, and Nascar do not discriminate. Neither does finger lickin' good fried food. In order to conquer one of my fears from childhood, we paid a visit to Lone Cabbage Fish Camp (just the humans because of course, NO DOGS ALLOWED). 

This place is located on the St. Johns River right on the border of Brevard and Orange counties (Right off on State Road 520 "The Beach Line", in case you need directions). It is quite literally a shack with a dock and several faded, air brushed signs guiding the way to either the air boat rides or the food. 

Now I am not bashing Lone Cabbage. It is a legit Brevard institution. I'm just saying the appearance, mixed with the Spanish moss on the trees, fog on the river and remote location scared me a bit as a child. (FYI, they did find a 9 foot anaconda down the river the same day we were there). But seriously, best fried shrimp I have had in years. James got gator, frog legs and catfish and he said the same. We didn't do an air boat ride because I'm cheap and not that touristy. I would recommend canoeing or kayaking if you want to get a real look at the FL wetlands.

Other than that, our trip just consisted of catching some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It's funny, when I'm on vacation I don't mind waking up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise. Hopefully we will return to Florida soon and possibly be able to take in some more remote outdoor locations (in the mean time, Google "Florida Springs" to see my all time favorite places in FL).

Bear Creek Trail 12-12-15

Sawnee Mountain and a side trip 11-22-15