Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Monday, December 13, 2010

JD State Park

After the last cold front passed (during which we were hunkered down in Cocoa), we headed south down to the vicinity of Jupiter, Florida to do a little camping at Jonathon Dickinson State Park. The namesake for the park was shipwrecked near there back in 1696 and eventually became mayor of Philadelphia. The park is situated on the Loxahatchee River and boasts some great hiking and biking trails and a few camping areas. We stayed at the Pine Grove Campground which had electric and water hook-ups, which makes things a little easier. The population of the campsite was about 1/3 behemoth RV, 1/3 camping trailers, and 1/3 tent/poptop campers. The place is really well-run and had the cleanest bathrooms I've ever seen, not excluding luxury hotels.

The day we arrived it wasn't too cold but it was raining a little so all we could do is establish base camp and hunker down for some cozy reading. By moving stuff around, the Eurovan is pretty roomy for two adults, but I can't imagine having more people along, even though it sleeps four. Other from that, the Eurovan has proven itself to be quite well suited to camping (we shall never speak again of the Maryland engine fiasco). You got your stove, your fridge, your sink, and your bed. What else do you need? Once we got the 'moving stuff around' down to a groovy pattern, the days have been pretty righteous.

Every morning we were greeted by boat-tail grackles and scrub jays looking for a hand-out. Otis was not amused by the cacophony. Since it's against the law to feed wildlife (and not a good idea either), we just watched them and, once they concluded that no food was to be had, they usually just skittered away.

Since the weather was pretty nice for most of our stay (70sF/40sF), Otis got a lot of fresh air. Here he is, relaxing in his Fortress of Solitude. We keep the dragon sheet over part of his pen so that he does not present as hawk-bait.

The park has a variety of beautiful landscapes, from swampy wetlands to arid scrub pine and palm forests.
There's one place where the main park road crosses a little rivulet known as Gator Culvert. There was a boardwalk for gator viewing but we didn't see any gators there so I crossed the road and spotted this six-footer just hanging out. Wendy was able to get this great shot.

This is the Loxahatchee River.

Wendy chilling riverside.

When we were riding our bikes down to the river
we spotted this tortoise lumbering along. He seemed
curiously unconcerned by our presence.

We did a lot of hiking through these scrub lands. There
are supposed to be feral pigs in there but we did not run
across any of them. Just as well, who needs tusks wounds?

A little campside dinner by sunset. I made
braised pork chops with potatoes, peppers, and onions
and Wendy made a salad of greens, oranges, and

We biked over and climbed the tower on Hobe Mountain,
the highest point in Southern Florida. On the way back down
the wooden walkway, we spotted this spider enjoying lunch. That's
good eatin' right there. We looked up the spider in the field guide
(I can't remember it's name) and it said they like to hang out on
fenceposts. Now we know why.

This was one of the paved bike paths through the park.
They also have some single-track and a mountain bike park
with rated trails and log-jumps and all kinds of extreme stuff.

I love this shot because Wendy looks like she's
gonna go and kick some ass.

What time do The Dead go on, man?

Here's our basic camp set-up. The SwissGear canopy
has screen netting but we really haven't need it since the
insects have not been a problem. Might be a different story
if it were summer.

Here's Wendy during one of our hikes through scrubland
on the Florida Trail.

Call for Orange Moose!

-Wendy (photos) and Gerry (text)


  1. ewwww big spiders!

    making a deposit of xmas funds from gma this week!

    I'll let u know when i make the drop.

    Camping must be good for the two look healthy and relaxed. :)

  2. @erica: it was only about 1.5 inches long. thanks for taking care of the $. yeah, we're having fun. will call you later today.

  3. Looks like there aren't too many places in the country that are warm right now. Thank goodness you two aren't out in the Midwest somewhere!

    By the way, thanks for the rabbit information but I think between our future baby and our desire to get a dog, a rabbit would not be the best choice.
    I also read they shed a lot, which could really aggravate my allergies/asthma.

  4. It's funny Tree that we never considered that the weather would be our biggest obstacle. I think if it snowed in FL it would put us over the edge!
    Rabbits do shed a lot and their dander can be particularly troublesome for asthma sufferers. A friendly dog is probably the best choice for a family with a newborn on the way.