Gold Head Branch

Need to be close to a populated area but want the feel of nature? Once again, you can count on Florida state parks.

We’re less than an hour away from Tracy’s sister in Gainesville, but our state park, Gold Head Branch, sits on a longleaf pine-covered, sandy set of acres, with a ravine in the middle where erosion has created a small trickle of a creek. But it’s enough to feed an ecosystem that looks more like the central east coast than we’ve seen since we’ve been in Florida.

The photo above is from our walk today along the ravine. We would have enjoyed it more if Banjo hadn’t been hell-bent on sniffing out every small rodent, reptile, and mystery animal along the trail, preventing Tracy from seeing any birds and me from thinking while I walk. But Banjo enjoyed herself, for sure.

The water level up on the sandy portions of this park is low. Still, we hear Sandhill Cranes each morning and evening flying over, plus Chuck Will’s Widow (direct relation to the Whippoorwill). This is a peaceful park, and it feels a bit more like the forested east coast than we’ve come across so far. The bulk of the United States seems a bit closer.