Monday, April 24, 2023

Florida Caverns

We spent a few days at Florida Caverns RV Resort in Marianna, FL for a Suncoast Allegro rally. The campground was great. It was really clean and had spacious lots. They have a nice dog park, and the puppies practiced going up and down stairs at some new park models on a slope overlooking the park. Most of the attendees had sites overlooking Merritt’s Mill Pond. In the evenings we were serenaded by a chorus of frogs. 

Our coach is on the far right

The puppies were not impressed with the view

There were 17 of us in all. We had plenty of opportunities to socialize, starting with a “Meet & Greet” on Thursday evening. We took a tour of the caverns at the Florida Caverns State Park. The portion of the caverns on the tour are rather small, in comparison with other caverns we have visited. The park and the caverns were improved by the CCC in the 30’s. The group that cleared cavern passages was called the “Gopher Gang”. Some of the passages we walked through were under 5’ in height, but originally the openings were only about 12” high. 

Cave Salamander - we also saw one tiny bat

The park and the surrounding area was severely impacted by Hurricane Michael, a Cat 5 storm in 2018 - the 3rd or 4th strongest storm to hit the US. So many trees and buildings were damaged. 

The Saint Luke Baptist Church building, vacated in 1984, partially collapsed in the storm. The historical building stands on the highest hill in Marianna, and is visible throughout the town. 

Old buildings often tug at my heart and seem to speak to me. Whether I am visiting historical homes or public buildings, or abandoned cottages or barns. I won't go so far as to say I feel the presence of past souls, but I feel the emptiness of the building and my imagination certainly goes into high gear. I enjoy trying my hand at watercolor sketches of many of the buildings that call to me. 

The Suncoast group often has a craft activity for the ladies. I helped cohost the rally, and led the ladies in making alcohol ink coasters and trivets. They seemed to enjoy the activity, and that evening the guys were intrigued by the designs we had created. 

Each night we sat outside around a fire pit at one site or another. One night Sally brought over Rum Chata pudding cups. They were fantastic! She uses Jello pudding mix, either vanilla or chocolate, adds 1 C of milk and 1 C of Rum Chata. After mixing the pudding she folds in a container of Cool Whip and puts the pudding in tiny take-out cups with lids. She keeps them in the freezer and they last for a long time, she said. I told her that they wouldn’t last long in my freezer!

We enjoyed the rally. It helped that the weather was perfect! The pups seem to enjoy camp life, and adored all of the attention that they received from our friends. I have a lot of training to do - they are still very much puppies, and want to greet and jump people very enthusiastically. It will come...with lots of experience and practice!

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