Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oleno State Park and River Rise

Oleno State Park in High Springs, Florida was the first stop on my winter adventure...bound for Baja, Mexico. RVing friend Nan, just starting out as a full-time RVer having sold her house, was looking for adventure too, so is going to travel with me as far as Livingston, Texas. 
The Sante Fe River runs through the park, located on the site of the old town of Leno, 
which is how the park got its name. Interesting history...I didn't know lotto gambling existed back in the 1860s.
 This park and many others were developed by the CCC. This statue of a "CCC boy" honors those Civilian workers. 
 Along with this museum and interpretive center.
 Picnic pavilian built by the CCC.
 The town of Leno built up around a grist mill, the remains of which are on display here.
 The grist stones seen here would have ground corn into a medium meal for breading or grits and a finer meal for cooking flour.
What happened to Leno? This town like others that no longer exist vanished as railroads, highways, and shipping lanes passed them by. Leno was bypassed by the railroad and suffered a devastating freeze which led to its demise.
 Remnants of a rock dam that regulated the flow of the river which powered the mill downstream.
 Thistle and I hiked the river trail which follows the Sante Fe River to the point where it sinks underground.
 Sign explaining the River Sink.
 Place where the river sinks underground. On the left the pool is covered with duckweed.
Gators and turtles covered with duckweed...

I noticed as I continued my hike, that the river is not totally underground, but appears here and there in pools on the surface.
Nan and I went exploring to locate the place where the river rises again. We ventured down the Old Bellamy Road. 
Which hasn't changed much since the 1800s.

We had to see the ranger to locate and gain access to the River Rise.
Nan works the combination on the locked gate. Horse camping and trails are located in this portion of the park.
 The road in is rustic.

 Parking area and a short trail to the place where the river rises.
 Interpretive sign.
Interesting to learn what the river does while underground.
 Approaching the river.
 This small dark area is very deep and is probably where the water comes up from the aquifer.
The water forms a large pool before beginning its flow toward the Suwannee River. It would be neat to put a kayak in and paddle down the river from here. Raining today though....I'm a fair-weather kayaker, haha.
Nan is a lot of fun to travel with, so stay tuned for the next adventure on the road west.

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