Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hiking at Torreya State Park

Torreya State Park_Site 28
Torreya State Park sits on a bluff overlooking the Apalachicola River, west of Tallahassee, FL.  It was quite a drive from I-10 to get here, so we decided that we would just hang out here for a few days, enjoying nature.  Nicolas loves it – this is his kind of park!  Bryce wants to know where the concrete sites and cable TV are! LOL!  We’ve got a decent Verizon signal, though, so school and work won’t suffer.
This is the view from the overlook at the end of the campground loop, and most of the sites back up to a similar dropoff into the woods.  So much for Florida being flat!
Torreya TreeTorreya State Park is named for the Torreya Tree, which is endangered with only about 200 hundred of them left . . . they are exclusive to this area.
Tom and I think they look very similar to a Balsam Fir.

There are 2 main hiking trail loops in the park, and several connecting trails that meet up with one or the other.    After carefully studying the pictures of copperhead snakes, and what to do if we see one on the trail, we decided to try a little hiking. 
On Tuesday afternoon, we rode our bikes down a very big hill to the Gregory House.

Gregory House

Ranger Station with Spanish Moss

This was a southern plantation house which had been on the other side of the river, but was moved to this site in the 1930s by the CCC.  The state park used to be a CCC camp, and the ranger station was a barracks.

OK, so back to our hike . . . there are tours of the Gregory House, but only in the morning, and that wasn’t why we were here.  From the back yard of the house, there are two trails that lead down to the river and meet up with the loop trail – one to the right and one to the left.  We started down the one on the right.

Hiking to the river

This trail takes you past an area used by Confederate soldiers to oversee and protect the Apalachicola River from the Union Army.  There are five Gun Emplacement Areas that can still be identified, and one was recently studied by archeologists.

Confederate soldiers protected the Apalachicola River from here

We met up with the loop trail right where it crosses a small stream . . . which was a little bigger due to the overnight storms.

crossing the bridge




3 hikers

We followed this trail along the river, enjoying some beautiful views.

Apalachicola River


The trail was pretty wet in this area, and we had to be careful not to slip in the mud!
We reached the point directly below the Gregory House and could see it up on the bluff above us.

Gregory House from below
We continued on, following the orange markers, watching for the blue ones that would indicate the connector trail back up to the house.  Bryce took the lead for awhile, until he had enough of breaking through spider webs across the trail!
Bryce leads the way
There were several bridges on this part of the trail, where streams came off the bluffs and met up with the river. 
We saw needle palms,


and some gigantic pine trees!

There was one place where a giant pine tree had fallen across the trail, and it was apparently too big to move . . .
so they just cut a section out of it, and left it where it was!
If you can't move it . . .

We reached the end of the trail, and were back at the Gregory house.  We relaxed in the shade for a few minutes,

Resting after our hike
and then we were ready to tackle that bike ride back up the hill to the campground!
A nice day for a bike ride and hike

On Wednesday afternoon, we thought we’d explore the Weeping Ridge Trail that traverses down the ravine from the campground loop.

Weeping Ridge Trail
Along the way, Nicolas spotted these tall skinny trees that reminded him of something that his 8th grade teacher had shown his class.

Find the right tree
You find a tree that’s big enough to hold your weight until you get to the top of it, but still flexible.
Climb up as high as you can,

Climb up until the tree starts to bend

Then, hang on until the tree bends over, bringing you back to the ground.

And hang down!
With some coaching from Nick, Bryce gave it a try, too . . . he was pretty comical!
Bryce gives it a try!

He just couldn’t seem to figure out how to use his legs to get himself up the tree . . . or his arms weren’t strong enough!  We enjoyed watching him try, though!

Maybe a smaller tree will make it easier . . .



I think he picked too small a tree!
but that one might be a little too small!!!

Weeping Ridge
The trail ended at the Weeping Ridge, and it was still weeping from the rain the other night.
We found Weeping Ridge!

We backtracked most of the way back up the same way that we had come, but when we reached the turn towards the campground or the parking lot, we took the trail to the parking lot.  This trail passed behind our campsite, and we could see our RV through the trees.

We can see our RV from the trail

From the parking lot, we walked the short distance up the campground road to our site, and got back just as it started to sprinkle a little.  We sat under the awning for a little while, watching some cardinals fly around,

but when the mosquitos got too bad we went inside to watch a movie before dinner.

It’s been a nice couple of relaxing days out here in the woods in the Florida panhandle!  Happy Spring!
Spring flowers


  1. a lovely day for a hike. Sure nice to be away from the concrete and cable tv! :)

  2. We're with Nicolas for loving the NATURE parks!! Looks like Bryce, the tree swinger, likes the NATURE parks also;o))

  3. Glad to see you didn't encounter any copperheads, but at least you were prepared! It was nice socializing with you, hope to see you again next winter :-).


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