Visit to Florida Caverns State Park

The lone tree next to our campsite. Turkey Oak turning colors.

Hurricane Ian passed us by, in spite of the prediction of a direct hit on our area. We looked at the photos and videos from the areas that did suffer the direct hit, and realized what could have happened in our are. Three days after returning from our evacuation (under mandatory evacuation for 1.5 days, stayed away an additional two days to avoid traveling in the storm), we headed out on our long planned October trip.

Coincidentally, we went to Florida Caverns State Park, devastated by Hurricane Michael in 2018 and just re-opening for camping about a year ago. We visited this park several times before the hurricane, and wondered what we would find. The changes stunned us. It destroyed the beautiful tree canopy that shaded the campground and we camped in an open field-like grassed area with a few young trees planted to eventually replace that shade. With cold clear nights, and warm sunny days, we enjoyed walking around the trails and visiting the museum. We didn’t stay long enough for a cave tour. We took the tour several times before, but saw a notice that the lighting in the caves was updated to LED. We will time our stay to take the tour next time.

The town changed, and some small businesses we frequented in the past were no longer there, but a favorite family owned restaurant still operated (Mashawy) and we had a wonderful meal.

The beautiful sunny and warm afternoons generally found us sitting out under the RV awning, watching the clouds flowing across the blue sky, reading, talking, and relaxing. Just the break we needed after rushing preparing the house for the hurricane and then evacuating, not knowing what might happen. Our thoughts are with those people who ended up in the direct path, and we wish them speedy recovery from the devastation.

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