The next few days we either chilled at the campsite or cruised through our volunteer duties. On Wednesday we went on a field trip with Sheila, our park ranger, and a few other volunteers/part-time employees of the park. Our destination was the Big Scrub area of the Ocala National Forest. Our mission was to visit some sites that were pertinent to Marjorie Rawling's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Yearling. This was an area where Rawlings spent time as inspiration for the writing of the book. Shelia has done great research on the subject. Her role was to read from the Yearling and other publications, writings that related to specific events in the book. It was a unique opportunity to better understand the culture Marjorie Rawlings was highlighting in the Yearling.
We drove about an hour and began our day at the Juniper Prairie Wilderness area and the Pat's Island Trail.
|Fortunately, it was an absolutely beautiful day, and we encountered none of these "risks"|
|Much of the area we were hiking burned in a forest fire in I think 2006, but it was coming back nicely.|
and the family cemetery.
After a hike of a few miles, we returned to our cars, ate our lunch and then traveled a short distance to Silver Glen Springs, a beautiful spot.
|Sheila and Jackie, the Park's Master Gardener Volunteer were the only ones ready to cool off a bit.|
|Our field trip group, Duane, Melissa, Jackie, Ray, Sheila and Judy|
At our final stop, Hopkins Prairie, we eye balled some great scenery,
and spent some time on any empty site in the campground enjoying the camaraderie of our peers. A very pleasant day!
We then returned to "chillin".
On Saturday and Sunday my father and his wife Marge, who live in Palm Harbor, were staying in Gainesville to spend some time with us. We had some meals together, toured the Rawlings house and visited the Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.
The highlight there was the Butterfly House.
We have been to a few of these and this one may have been the best. Debbie had the camera ready of course and even though we had the help of a laminated identification card you can carry with you inside the rainforest, we were only able to identify a few.
|Blue Glassy Tiger|
|More Tree Nymphs|
|Marge and Pop in the Butterfly Rainforest|
|Duane and Pop at Natural History Museum|
If you stuck it out through this whole post, thanks so much, You are a good listener!