Turning off SR 65 on to FR 129, we drove nearly 2.5 miles on graded dirt road (that is official speak for “feels like driving over a washboard and watch for the potholes”) to the Fort Gadsden Historic Site. This fort hosted a Spanish settlement, British Fort, US Fort. Standing on the remaining earthworks, the reason becomes obvious. The river flows by, a primary and in some cases only mode of transportation in Florida for a long time. Not surprising, a good deal of Florida’s history involves water. Not just the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, but all of the rivers and springs that run through the peninsula.
We visited the kiosk first, and then walked around the earth works. Several articles recommended visiting during spring when the bugs were less. Apparently they didn’t count deer flies, or yellow flies, or giant flying monsters that really hurt when they bite, whatever name you prefer. We wore long pants and I wore a long sleeve hike shirt. A couple walking back to the parking lot said that they were pretty sure all the flies had followed them, and that they had bites to prove it. Both wore shorts and t-shirts. The flies buzzed, but we escaped without any bites. Maybe they liked our attire? The entire way to the Fort and back on the dirt road the flies swarmed our car to a point we considered not getting out. We passed beautiful pine flatwoods full of flowers, and I wouldn’t even open a window for a photograph because of all the flies sitting on it look in!
The drive through the Apalachicola National Forest and Tate’s Hell National Forest along SR 65 is beautiful and peaceful. Fort Gadsden is well worth the visit, if only to read the history and gaze at the unspoiled section of the Apalachicola River.