Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Micanopy, FL - Paynes Prairie Preserve

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is just south of Gainesville. There's something quite fascinating about this park. I think it's because of the changes in landscape and texture. There is the wooded hammock, dry meadows, wet prairies, hills, and lakes. And with that the variety of wildlife: songbirds, wading birds, hawks, bobcats, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and believe it or not, a herd of wild "cracker" horses and even 18 bison have been re-introduced. The "wet prairie" used to be a lake until a sinkhole drained it.
The entrance to the park and the campground is so wooded that we initially forgot we were in a park called a "Prairie". That was until we visited the observation tower that overlooks the prairie. It felt like we were standing at a window looking into another world; the line between prairie and hammock is so clearly defined it seems planned.

There are hiking and biking trails throughout the woods and a couple out into the prairie. The Gainesville-Hawthorne trail runs along the eastern edge of the State Park. Just another reason we came.

One night when the moon was out we strolled down to the lake. Tiny bats were zipping about and in the darkness you would think they are going to fly right into you. Good thing for their radar!

A mile down the road is the historic town of Micanopy (mick-ah-nahpee). Most of the shops were antique shops, but there were a couple of art galleries and two cafes. Small but quaint. Loved the old buildings.

Now I'm jumping ahead, chronologically speaking, so I can tell you a story about what happened yesterday morning when we left the State Park. Have you seen the movie "RV" with Robin Williams? In it there is a scene when they are dumping their sewage and it backs up and shoots skyward. Well, it wasn't quite that dramatic...but gross just the same. This has never happened to us before, but as Andy was dumping the black tank (think the worst stuff) when it immediately backed up and started gurgling back up out of the hole in the ground! There was no time to stop the outflow so the only thing Andy could do was jump back and away from the rapidly growing pool. Two seconds later, it started to go down the drain but it was too late. Andy had to hose down the area, his shoes, the tires on the RV and everything else. Funny thing was when he said to me, "At least it doesn't stink." I, however, was standing downwind of this fiasco and told him how wrong he was. Aahhh, just another RVing adventure.



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