Living in the Moment: Torreya State Park #MondayBlogs #livinginthemoment

My husband recently bought a new tent. One that you can actually stand up in. One that unfolds like an umbrella, making assembly easy-peasy. If I were taller, I could probably put the tent up myself.

Our new tent (courtesy of LL Bean) with a tarp as a front porch.

Our new tent (courtesy of LL Bean) with a tarp as a front porch.

To test out the tent, we spent a couple of nights at the campgrounds of Torreya State Park.Β  The park is only about an hour driving distance, yet after 26 1/2 years living here in north Florida, we’ve never camped here. We’ve hiked; the park has some fine hiking trails, although the bugs can be murderous during the (long) hot and humid summers. We elected to go during the Christmas holiday weekend with our fingers crossed that it would be safe to be outside.

View from the vista point a few yards from our tent.

View from the vista point a few yards from our tent.

We had beautiful weather, although we had hoped for cooler temperatures. It was high 70s, low 50s, which anywhere else would be perfect. In Florida, however, that can mean that armies of mosquitoes patrolling the skies, striking with and without warning, wreaking havoc and tears of frustration. Yet … aside from a few slow-moving, large mosquitoes that showed up at dusk and then promptly disappeared when night fell, we were practically mosquito-free. Will wonders never cease?

Trees in late afternoon light.

Trees in late afternoon light.

I like trees. Although they can make stargazing difficult, generally I like trees and there were some interesting specimens that I don’t see often in my own neighborhood, such as the American Beech. We have one that my husband planted in our yard a number of years ago; however, we’ll likely be dead before it reaches the height of the trees at Torreya.

We almost cut our camping in trip in half. Our first evening, neighbors at the nearest RV decided they wanted to listen to some (loud, obnoxious, contemporary) music while they cooked their dinner outdoors. It was the strangest mix of country and rap I’d ever heard and the music-lovers were roughly our age so … not only were we perplexed but we were also annoyed. We came to the campgrounds to enjoy the singing of birds and the sighing of the wind through the trees; apparently they didn’t and, while that is their choice, they were ruining the respite we had been looking forward to.

Fortunately, once their cooking was done and they were ensconced in their RV, the music was muffled and eventually all was quiet. We went to bed feeling hopeful. Although I woke often during the night, I experienced a state of near bliss finding myself in soft darkness, the starry sky visible from our open front flap, a light breeze lulling me back to sleep. At one point in the night, however, I was awakened by my husband shooing something away from our picnic table.

Forensic evidence of an intruder in the night.

Forensic evidence of an intruder in the night.

We had left a bit of trash on the picnic table, enough to encourage a little thievery.Β  Fortunately, this critter took off as soon as my husband hissed at him, unlike the raccoons we used to encounter at Big Basin State Park in California, who would bring their entire families to our campground while we were cooking hot dogs, assuming an invitation to dine and ignoring our demonstrative entreaties to “go away.”

The night was so quiet and the next morning so peaceful, we decided not to leave. Instead, after a repast of mushroom and cheese omelettes and copious cups of coffee, a little knitting time for me and photo processing time for my husband, we went on a hike.

Interestingly, this is a simple pattern. Yet, I spent part of the weekend ripping out and then redoing rows because my counts were off. Sometimes simplicity is complicated.

Interestingly, this is a simple pattern. Yet, I spent part of the weekend ripping out and then redoing rows because my counts were off. Sometimes simplicity is complicated.

We hiked the Weeping Ridge Trail which took us to a waterfall that had a mere trickle of water, but was still worth the visit. We detoured to a side trail which followed along floodplain forest and then back up to the road and eventually our campgrounds.

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(All the years I’ve been blogging and only now did I figure out how to do a slideshow …)

It’s a good thing I like trees, right?

I hope you all have had a holiday season that brought you joy, peace and happiness.



21 thoughts on “Living in the Moment: Torreya State Park #MondayBlogs #livinginthemoment

  1. Ah yes, the luxury of a tent that one can stand up in πŸ™‚ I currently only have one tent, a really great backcountry tent, but it’s lightweight and not very tall. Campgrounds are always such a mix of noise levels. The most horrifying one I ever stayed at was on the Oregon Coast. I didn’t realize that it was primarily for four-wheeler and dune-buggy addicts who stayed up until around 3 am every night buzzing all over the sand dunes. If I had to recall a list of worst nights of sleep up there, that would make the cut. Most of the time though, campers observe quiet hours, but I agree it’s rather annoying when strange tunes get blasted.

    • Hi, Jeri! Our tents seem to get taller as we get older πŸ˜‰ We have another tent for backpacking, although I don’t know when we might ever get to do that. Your stay on the Oregon coast sounds horrific. Our complaints definitely pales to that. I’m just grateful that people generally observed quiet hours, otherwise we would have left early.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Patti! I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out how to do the slideshow. I’ll definitely use it more often now πŸ™‚

    • I think you might have liked this. The tent is nice and roomy. The only thing is we’re getting too old to sleep on the ground, even with our thermarests. Next time we’re bringing the air mattress πŸ˜‰

  2. Nice portfolio Marie. I enjoyed the whole trip. The loud music is one thing that truly upsets my Karma. When beachgoers start drinking, bond firing and rap music playng, it is time for police. I wish it was okay just to shoot them but I have to be logical. I loved your description of the slow moving big mosquitoes. All ours are the little, swift, straight razor toten’ kinds. Lucky when it is dark they go somewhere else.

  3. Beautiful shots, Marie! I have camping envy …

    Your campsite neighbors, though, are just one reason why I don’t think I could handle it. Country rap? It’s an abomination that would kill my soul! As an atheist, I look at nature as my church, so anyone who’d blare a boom box in church is headed straight to Hell in my book. πŸ˜‰

    • Hey, Kevin, given how many RVs there were, I suspect a lot of people were there just to pass through, not to enjoy nature. I mean, we had great weather, but most of these people stayed inside! What freaks me out are the campers who bring their TVs with them and then sit outside watching. That is not a new phenomenon, but it never ceases to shock me. We only met two people on our hike and that was at the end, so we had some real respite for a while πŸ˜‰

  4. Knowing me, I would have to ask them to tone it down, and probably start WWIII. Nice that you were able to stay and enjoy some of your time. I love the walks through the woods. I miss that about being a flatlander. We have some nice live oaks, but so many of the ancient forests have been taken down in the name of development. Lucky to find a park with them still standing. I miss the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet…and the lacy shadows cast by the tree limbs. Little things you likely take for granted…until they’re gone.

    • We did think about saying something to them, but we were afraid we might get shot. You never know these days. It definitely was a nice trip, and we are lucky to live in an area that is not too developed (yet). And, yes, the best part of these trips is the reminder of how important the little things really are …

  5. Apart from the mix of country and rap music, it sounds like you had a nice time in your new tent, Marie. I’m assuming my very loud sound machine, that I must use in order to fall asleep, would have annoyed you as well. πŸ™‚ I can’t sleep in silence…weird, I know. I loved your photos!

    • Thanks, Jill! What kind of sound machine do you have? Although I prefer silence, if I can’t fall asleep, listening to something like the BBC on low volume will do the trick πŸ˜‰ Our trip was very nice, except the 2nd night the campers on the other side of us had a visitor who talked and talked and talked until about midnight. He was obviously agitated about something, and I could understand enough of what he said to figure I wouldn’t care for his company too much (sounded like a know-it-all). People πŸ˜‰

      • I’m not sure of the brand, but it has several nature sound options, Marie. Although I love birds, I can sleep with the tweets in my ears. I go with the crashing ocean sound which really sounds like a burst pipe of gushing water…LOL! The first time I took it to my parent’s house, my mother said it was going to make me deaf. πŸ™‚ I honestly can’t sleep without it.
        Wouldn’t it be nice if campgrounds offered 5 acre plots, so you didn’t have to deal with all of the chatter. Do they make sound-proof tents? πŸ™‚

        • Ha, sound-proof tents would be great! I can imagine falling asleep to sounds of the ocean. It’s a lovely sound, and the few times we’ve vacationed at a beach, I always enjoyed hearing the waves. I wouldn’t be able to sleep with birds singing in my ears, but I don’t mind waking up to that πŸ™‚

  6. Sounds like a wonderful trip, Marie. Great tent! Loved your gorgeous photos, especially the forensic evidence of your night visitor. Was it a raccoon? Looks like a raccoon’s print.

    I love trees, particularly beech trees. Looks like a beautiful setting.

    I also find that the simplest patterns can complicate themselves. I’ve also had to redo rows because I’ve lost count. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Linda. Yes, our night visitor was a raccoon. I love that he left a paw print πŸ˜‰ I’m two-thirds done with the shawl now, so hopefully I’ve learned my lesson: count every few rows to make sure I have the right number of stitches!

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