January 17, 2010. It continued to storm overnight with some of the strongest winds I’ve heard in the 2.5 months we’ve been here at Big Shoals State Park. The rain was also heavy at times. In the morning the rain had stopped but the wind continued all day.
Road 1 after the storm, full of mud puddles
I say heard as opposed to winds I’ve felt because, in the forest you can hear the wind in the tops of the trees and see the tree tops swaying violently. The wind sounds like a truck coming up the road as it blows through the treetops. However, we don’t feel much of the wind at the ground level due to the protection of the trees. In fact we’ve never had to bring our electric awning in because of the wind. Actually the only reason we keep our awning extended or 1/2 extended is for rain and to keep the leaves and pine needles from falling on us outside. I also think it looks better!
Unfortunately, our anticipated guests called and had to reschedule their visit due to a family medical issue. We certainly hope that their loved one has a full recovery.
Lack of social interaction is perhaps the biggest downside to our Volunteer position here at Big Shoals. Otherwise, we couldn’t ask for a better situation as we have had every need met by the staff and have not had to work too hard! We are planning to leave perhaps the first week of February. Dylan asked that I post this position on some forums, but my readers get first shot, so if anyone is interested in our volunteer position starting Feb. or March please contact Ranger Dylan Shoemaker at 386-397-4476 or 386-397-2733.
Because of the storm, we decided to start our park clean-up chores today instead of waiting till Monday. The walls and floors of the concrete restroom building were sweating due to the sudden influx of warm humid air on the cold concrete. Thus the bathrooms were a mess, especially if anyone walked on the wet floor. Thankfully, the park had not seen a lot of visitors the last couple of days. We cleaned up and then took the Gator down Road 1 to Little Shoals. We cleaned up fallen branches along the way.
We noticed that the Suwanne Bicycle Association (SBA) had put out small signs on the dirt roads marking the route for their Ididaride event. This event is scheduled for next Saturday the 23rd. From SBA's website:
IDIDARIDE XVI is a bicycle challenge ride. It is NOT a race. It is an off-road endurance ride through woodlands along the Suwannee River. Approximately 50 miles of singletrack trails and woods roads have been linked to form a continuous route with minimum of pavement. This route has terrain, stream crossings, and distance to challenge all off road riders.
I can tell you that we have ridden our mountain bikes on some of the roads and trails that will be used for the Ididaride course and it certainly will be challenging. There are lots of elevation changes along with sand and mud.
On the way back from Little Shoals we took the paved Wood Pecker trail. Again we picked up branches along the way. The wind was still so bad that the branches were falling around us. Heck, it made me think we should be wearing hard hats!
Back at our rig, I had blown off our pad with the blower three times. It proved to be a waste of time as leaves and pine needles were falling at a pretty good rate because of the wind. I also heard the sound of trees falling out in the forest around us.
I spoke with Ranger Gary Erixton that evening and he told me the night we got back from our river trip, he caught 3 more hogs in the hog pen. The hogs had to be destroyed and buried. Gary uses the park’s tractor to bury the hogs in the fire lanes.